AFC Wimbledon secured a first clean sheet this season in a hard-fought draw versus Wycombe Wanderers today.
A first victory of the season eluded Wimbledon in a 0-0 draw with both defences on top in a game that included few chances. The outcome at least hinted at defensive stability for Wimbledon and it was a second point of the season for The Dons with in-form Wycombe denied.
Wally Downes made two changes from the side that started at Sunderland last time out. Joe Pigott was handed a recall to face a Wycombe side that he scored an important double against back in April, Michael Folivi having to settle for a place on the bench. The other change was at the back with Will Nightingale restored at the heart of defence, our captain replacing the injured Rod McDonald. Wycombe included two familiar faces in their line-up with former Wimbledon promotion heroes Darius Charles and Bayo Akinfenwa both starting.
It didn’t take long for Akinfenwa to show his threat as he found space in the box to try a volley, but it was comfortably over the crossbar. Taking on a Wycombe side in third place heading into this game, Wimbledon found it difficult to create chances in the first 20 minutes. The closest Wimbledon came early on was when Nesta Guinness-Walker delivered a dangerous ball from the left that Wycombe keeper Ryan Allsop could only parry, but no one was able to get on the end of it. The visitors first tested Nathan Trott in the 15th minute, but the shot from Scott Kashket was straight at the on-loan West Ham keeper.
There had been little goalmouth incident in the first half an hour, but Wimbledon needed Nightingale to stay alert when he did very well to cut-out a header from Akinfenwa before it could reach Wycombe players waiting at the back post. At the other end, Wimbledon worked a shooting opportunity for Scott Wagstaff, but his shot was too close to Allsop. The Dons started to find a few gaps as the half progressed and a promising move ended with Pigott finding Luke O’Neill with a lovely ball across the area, but the Wimbledon right back’s shot flashed over the crossbar.
As we approached half-time, Wycombe fashioned a decent opportunity from a free-kick with Joe Jacobsen delivering a wicked cross from the left that picked out Charles, but he headed over the crossbar. The half-time score of 0-0 reflected a first 45 minutes of few chances with both teams having defended very well. It was certainly going to require a bit more attacking ingenuity to break the deadlock. There was a half chance for Wimbledon though within two minutes of the restart when Pigott found space on the edge of the area, but he curled high and wide.
As we progressed towards the hour mark, Wycombe started to cause problems from set-pieces. Terell Thomas did very well to cut-out a free-kick from Joe Jacobsen. Then Nathan Trott failed to collect a corner, but Scott Kashket was unable to take advantage. A big chance followed from the subsequent flag kick with the ball headed into Akinfenwa’s path, but he shot wide from close-range. The Dons created a good chance at the other end when Nesta Guinness-Walker sent over a lovely cross to pick out Kwesi Appiah, but his header was comfortably saved by Allsop.
With 20 minutes remaining, Guinness-Walker produced an impressive run down the left flank, beating his marker with lovely skill, but no one was able to get on the end of his cross. Wycombe continued to pose a threat and there was relief in the Wimbledon ranks when Akinfenwa had the ball in the back of the net from a rebound, but the flag was correctly up for offside.
Wally Downes made his first substitution with 15 minutes to go and it was a significant change with Adam Roscrow coming on to make his league debut as he replaced Appiah. Roscrow, who has had to wait patiently for his opportunity, was straight into the thick of the action and he had a shot charged down after good play by Guinness-Walker. However, the best chance of the game so far fell to Wycombe eight minutes from time when Nick Freeman was found in space in the area, but he shot just wide of the far post.
In a finale when the outcome could have gone either way, Wimbledon fashioned a decent opening for Roscrow, but his shot from an acute angle was well gathered by Allsop. Roscrow had certainly been bright since he entered the fray, finding space with his runs down the channels. Despite five minutes of injury-time, neither side were able to conjure up a winner and it ended goal-less at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.
AFC Wimbledon: Nathan Trott, Luke O’Neill, Will Nightingale, Terell Thomas, Scott Wagstaff, Anthony Hartigan (Mitch Pinnock), Kwesi Appiah (Adam Roscrow), Nesta Guinness-Walker, Paul Kalambayi, Callum Reilly, Joe Pigott.
Pic credit: Matt Redman, Pro Sports Images.