Dogged Dons deny Wycombe
The Dons halted Wycombe’s promotion charge with a hard-working display, but Neal Ardley’s men had to settle for a second successive 0-0 draw.
It was a game when defences were on top, but Wimbledon came closest when Bayo Akinfenwa’s header struck a post and the hosts had the better of chances and possession. Indeed in the second half, the Dons appeared to be denied a blatant penalty for a foul on Akinfenwa and Craig Tanner had a goal ruled out.
Wycombe also ended the game with 10 men as Pierre was sent off two minutes from time.
Neal Ardley made just one change to his starting line-up after the creditable midweek draw at Plymouth. A groin injury to Jack Smith meant that Wimbledon switched to a back three of Deji Oshilaja, Barry Fuller and Jake Goodman with Craig Tanner handed a recall. It was a very youthful bench with academy products Tom Beere, George Oakley, Ben Harrison, Dan Gallagher and Ryan Sweeney all named as substitutes.
Chasing a victory that would take them tantalisingly close to automatic promotion, Wycombe suffered an early blow when Matt Bloomfield had to go off injured and he was replaced by Marcus Bean. Wimbledon had to defend early on, but they had no problems curtailing Wycombe’s attacking intent and the Dons gradually started to dominate possession and chances. The first real chance arrived after a period of Wimbledon pressure when Sean Rigg swung over a deep cross that Bayo Akinfenwa met impressively, but his header bounced off a post.
It was a good spell for Wimbledon midway through the half and Akinfenwa also headed wide after a through ball from Barry Fuller. Jake Reeves also had a shooting chance when a cross was only half cleared, but his shot was too high. With Akinfenwa and Ade Azeez offering a good focal point for attacks, Wimbledon continued to pour forward. Wycombe were lucky to survive once again five minutes before the break when goalkeeper Matt Ingram made a hash of a corner from George Francomb, but Oshilaja was unable to get his head to the ball.
Wycombe had to make a second substitution before the break with Nico Yennaris giving way due to injury and that meant Max Kretzschmar was introduced. The stoppages meant that six minutes were added at the end of the first half. The Dons continued to impress during that extra period with Sean Rigg catching the eye down the left. He swung over another fine cross, but it came to nothing after Reeves took too long on the edge of the box. Wimbledon threatened again when Azeez attempted to reach a through ball before Ingram, but the Wycombe goalkeeper got there first and he also denied Tanner from the follow-up.
minute when the ball fell nicely for Steven Craig after it had only been half cleared, but he blazed over the bar. The Dons stayed resolute in defence and Azeez had an opportunity after a quick break, but he dragged his shot wide.thWimbledon continued on the offensive after half-time and Craig Tanner had the ball in the back of the net, but referee Trevor Kettle harshly blew for a foul by Akinfenwa on Pierre in the build-up. Wycombe had a rare chance in the 57
It was proving difficult for Wimbledon to exert a sustained spell of pressure against a dogged Wycombe side in the second-half, but Neal Ardley’s men still looked the more likely to win it. Francomb produced a lovely run and cross that ended with Akinfenwa heading just wide of the target. At the other end, Oshilaja was again impressive with his timely interceptions and anticipation catching the eye.
There had been little chance for a flowing game in the second half as it was characterised by midfield battles and the referee’s insistence on blowing up at the merest hint of a foul certainly didn’t help. Neal Ardley made a triple change with six minutes left as Ben Harrison, Tom Beere and David Fitzpatrick all came on for Sean Rigg, George Francomb and Craig Tanner. Francomb and Akinfenwa could have combined for the winner shortly afterwards, but a Wycombe defender hauled down the Dons striker and Tom Beere's subsequent shot was saved by Ingram.
Two minutes from time Wycombe were reduced to 10 men when Aaron Pierre was given a second bookable offence for bringing down Fitzpatrick. However, the Dons were unable to make the extra man count and had to settle for a point that at least extended the unbeaten home run to nine.
James Shea, Barry Fuller, Craig Tanner (Ben Harrison), Dannie Bulman, Deji Oshilaja, Jake Goodman, George Francomb (David Fitzpatrick), Jake Reeves, Ade Azeez, Bayo Akinfenwa, Sean Rigg (Tom Beere). AFC Wimbledon: