This time there was no late winner for AFC Wimbledon as Neal Ardley’s men had to settle for a point against Shrewsbury.
Following late winners against Chesterfield and Charlton in September, the Dons were unable to repeat the trick and it ended 1-1 with Lyle Taylor’s strike cancelled out.
Still, Wimbledon have only been beaten once this month and a positive result at Coventry would round off an encouraging September.
Neal Ardley made two changes to his starting line-up as the Dons aimed to build on that memorable victory at Charlton last Saturday. Dean Parrett and Tom Elliott both earned recalls in place of Andy Barcham and George Francomb, who had not recovered from the facial injury he suffered at Charlton. The changes meant a very positive and attacking side with Elliott, Dominic Poleon and Lyle Taylor deployed at the tip of a 4-3-3 formation.
Wimbledon made a storming start that had their opponents defending deep from the outset and it brought the reward of an opening goal in the sixth minute. Dean Parrett, who executed a smart free-kick routine in the defeat against Sheffield United, was at it again from another set-piece. This time he delivered a corner low into the box and Lyle Taylor met it with an emphatic first time strike from 12 yards that left Shrewsbury goalkeeper Jayson Leutwiler with no chance.
There was a warning for Wimbledon shortly after the goal when Junior Brown’s cross from the left found Ivan Toney in plenty of space in the box, but he headed over. That never made any difference to the pattern of this game though as Wimbledon’s fluid attacking play continued to cause problems. Parrett attempted to be Wimbledon’s creator once again when he got forward well and squared for Elliott, but his goal-bound effort was blocked. With Elliott’s towering presence as the foil and Elliott and Poleon running off him, Wimbledon threatened to put the game beyond Shrewsbury.
Shrewsbury had offered little attacking threat in the first half hour, but Paul Robinson had to go off temporarily after a clash of heads. It takes a lot to keep the committed defender away from the action though and he returned a few minutes later to a fine ovation from the home support. The half-time whistle signalled a job well done so far for Neal Ardley’s men.
However, it didn’t take long into the second-half for this game to be turned completely on its head. Ian Black tried his luck from 20 yards and the ball took a wicked deflection to leave James Shea with no chance. In a worrying few moments for Wimbledon, it needed James Shea to make a fine flying save to deny Shrews substitute Shaun Walley. Then the same player struck an effort just wide of the target as Micky Mellon’s side poured forward.
Crucially, Wimbledon did not concede again during a shaky spell after half-time and chances followed at the other end. Taylor sent over a lovely cross from the right that found Poleon just six yards out, but Leutwiler showed fine reactions to save from point-blank range. Dannie Bulman then prised Shrewsbury open with a lovely through ball for Taylor, but Leutwiler was out quickly to deny him a second goal.
With Wimbledon having failed to build on that resurgence, Neal Ardley made a double change in the 73rd minute. Andy Barcham and Tyrone Barnett were the men sent on to make a difference with Dean Parrett and Tom Elliott replaced. Barnett was straight into the thick of the action as he latched onto a smart flick from Taylor, but his shot was deflected just over. With 10 minutes to go, the pattern of play was now similar to the first half with Shrewsbury defending deep in an effort to nullify Wimbledon pressure.
Shrewsbury had to play the last seven minutes with 10 men as Ivan Toney was sent off for a second booking after a late challenge on Shea. By this time, Chris Whelpdale had entered the fray for Taylor and he almost made a difference when he crossed for Poleon, but he was crowded out after a good first touch.
Poleon and Barnett both tested Leutwiler in the latter stages, but a late winner was not forthcoming on this occasion.
AFC Wimbledon: James Shea, Barry Fuller, Paul Robinson, Darius Charles, Jon Meades, Dannie Bulman, Jake Reeves, Dean Parrett (Andy Barcham), Tom Elliott (Tyrone Barnett), Lyle Taylor (Chris Whelpdale), Dominic Poleon.