AFC Wimbledon were denied another League One away victory with a goal deep into injury-time from Coventry substitute Andre Wright.
The Dons had appeared set for all three points through a goal from Lyle Taylor, but Wright’s effort earned a 2-2 draw for Coventry.
Following great news about the club’s new stadium bid yesterday, 484 travelling fans regularly chanted “Dons are coming home” throughout and they so nearly had a victory to shout about too.
Neal Ardley hinted in the pre-match build-up that changes would be made with a tough run of fixtures coming up and he decided to tweak his starting line-up after Shrewsbury. Andy Barcham and Tyrone Barnett were both handed recalls as part of a 4-4-2 with Dominic Poleon and Tom Elliott having to settle for places on the bench.
A corner in just the second minute proved to be Wimbledon’s downfall as Coventry broke quickly to take the lead. A quick break down the right from Kyel Reid opened up a shooting chance and he let fly with a fierce drive that James Shea could only parry into the path of Marvin Sordell, who made no mistake.
Wimbledon struggled to conjure up a response and Neal Ardley could be seen roaring out instructions from the technical area after a less than favourable start from his side. The first hint of a chance for the Dons came when Tyrone Barnett met a Dean Parrett free-kick, but no one was able to get on the end of Lyle Taylor’s subsequent header across goal.
Wimbledon had failed to create a worthwhile chance in the first 30 minutes. At the other end, the Dons were finding it tough to cope with the pace and trickery of Reid, who was proving to be a handful for Barry Fuller. Jordan Willis forced James Shea into a decent save as Coventry cranked up the pressure. However, Wimbledon did start to find momentum after the half hour mark. Several corners proved to be the catalyst as Paul Robinson came close, the defender striking a superb volley that was deflected just over.
A much-improved spell from Wimbledon resulted in the equaliser seven minutes before half-time. Dean Parrett swung over a free-kick to the back post that Darius Charles headed on and Jon Meades rose superbly above the Coventry goalkeeper Reice Charles-Cook to nod home. Far from swinging the match Wimbledon’s way, Coventry twice came close to restoring their advantage before half-time. Marcus Tudgay blazed over from close range and then Shea reacted brilliantly to deny Sordell a second.
With Wimbledon having improved as the first half went on, Neal Ardley decided not to make any changes at half-time. Neither side were able to create anything of note in the first 15 minutes after the break as it became a much tighter affair. With Wimbledon having made no impression as an attacking force after the break, Neal Ardley made a change in the 63rd minute with Tom Elliott entering the fray for Barnett. However, it was Coventry who continued to show more cutting edge and the hosts came close when the impressive Reid had an effort deflected just wide.
Elliott’s introduction did improve Wimbledon’s forward momentum and Taylor tried a snap-shot from an acute angle that almost caught Charles-Cook by surprise, the Coventry number one only just guiding it to safety. Wimbledon made two more changes in the space of six minutes with Tom Beere replacing Parrett and then Dominic Poleon introduced for Andy Barcham. The latter change showed that Neal Ardley was going all out for a winner. It so nearly arrived through that man Poleon, who surged on a 40-yard run, before striking a shot that Charles-Cook just held onto.
All of a sudden, Wimbledon were now forcing Coventry back and the visitors appeared to have won it seven minutes from the end of normal time. Meades again won the battle in the air with another fine header from a corner and when Charles-Cook could only parry, Taylor steered home from close range.
A mammoth nine minutes of injury time increased nerves in the Wimbledon ranks and the equaliser came for Coventry when former Don Dan Agyei got on the end of a cross and though Shea saved well, Wright tapped home. Appeals for offside proved to be in vain and it was tough to take for Wimbledon in the end.
AFC Wimbledon: James Shea, Barry Fuller, Jon Meades, Dannie Bulman, Paul Robinson, Jake Reeves, Andy Barcham (Dominic Poleon), Dean Parrett (Andy Barcham), Tyrone Barnett (Tom Elliott), Darius Charles, Lyle Taylor.