Oldham deny Wimbledon all three points
A final day goal eluded AFC Wimbledon as Neal Ardley's men did everything but score against Oldham.
Lyle Taylor came closest to netting a winner in the first-half when his header came back off a post, but it was just not meant to be and Oldham dug in resolutely for a 0-0 draw.
in League One, a very creditable effort in a first season at the higher level and eight points clear of the relegation zone.thIt meant that Wimbledon finished 15
Neal Ardley made four changes to his starting line-up after the defeat at Bradford last Saturday. Due to injuries, Darius Charles, Jon Meades and Joe McDonnell all missed out on the squad with Dominic Poleon, Sean Kelly and James Shea all back in from the start. Alfie Egan was handed another start with Dean Parrett having to settle for a place on the bench. It was a youthful bench with Egli Kaja, Seth Owens, Toby Sibbick and Jayden Antwi all included, along with former Brentford academy keeper Nik Tzanev, who had impressed for the development squad.
A flowing Wimbledon move involving Sean Kelly, Jake Reeves and Lyle Taylor ended with Barcham having a shot deflected just wide. Barcham then turned provider as he got down the flank and put over a cross that was only half cleared, allowing Dannie Bulman to try his luck with a shot charged down, before the follow-up from Reeves was deflected wide. The Dons made a bright start, committing plenty of men forward at every opportunity, and a good chance followed in the fifth minute when Dominic Poleon fired just wide against his old club. That set the tone for the first-half as Wimbledon piled on the pressure with Andy Barcham really catching the eye with his lung-bursting runs down the left flank.
minute. Picking up the ball close to the left touchline, he cut inside and beat two or three challenges with lovely footwork, before striking a shot that was bound for the bottom corner, but it was cleared off the line. There was no let-up from Wimbledon and Poleon had a close-range shot well saved by Oldham goalkeeper Connor Ripley. However, the Dons came even closer just after the half hour. A lovely ball in from the right by Egan picked out Taylor and his deft header came back off a post with Oldham just scrambling the ball clear before Poleon could get there.ndBarcham was simply terrorising the Oldham defence in the first-half and he almost struck a goal of the season contender in the 22
It had been a first-half domination from Wimbledon, but that elusive goal just would not come, despite a rampant attacking display, particularly from that man Barcham. Oldham finally tested James Shea three minutes before half-time when Tope Obadeyi tried his luck from an acute angle and the Dons keeper did well to tip over the crossbar.
The second-half started with Oldham showing a bit more ambition and they missed a gilt-edged chance when Michael Ngoo shot wide from close-range. As the second-half wore on, Wimbledon gradually started to show a bit more of the attacking fluency that had been such a factor in the first half. Good work from Poleon down the right set-up Taylor, but his goal-bound effort was blocked.
With an hour gone, both sides were threatening to win it and Wimbledon were fortunate to survive when Shea missed a through ball. It fell invitingly for Oldham substitute Ryan McLaughlin, who put over a low cross that had Ngoo waiting to tap home at the far post, but Paul Robinson did brilliantly to get back and clear. At the other end, Wimbledon had the best chance of the second-half so far when Taylor sent over a searching cross from the right that picked out Poleon, but he shot straight into the grateful arms of Connor Ripley.
Neal Ardley made a double change 13 minutes from time with Dons academy products Toby Sibbick and Egli Kaja introduced for Bulman and Poleon. With Kaja and Sibbick deployed on the right side and Egan in midfield, Wimbledon ended the match with a youthful team out there. Kaja showed moments of promise in attacking down the right and Sibbick made an impressive tackle on Chris Taylor to stop him going through.
In the latter stages, an ambitious strike from Oldham’s Josh Law flashed just over and at the other end, Barcham shot straight into the arms of Ripley. It was a game when neither side were able to take their chances and it was another frustrating 90 minutes in front of goal for Wimbledon. However, effectively sealing survival with a month of 2016/17 left was a praiseworthy achievement that everyone connected with the club would have settled for when the season got underway.
AFC Wimbledon: James Shea, George Francomb, Sean Kelly, Paul Robinson, Will Nightingale, Dannie Bulman (Toby Sibbick), Jake Reeves, Alfie Egan (Dean Parrett), Andy Barcham, Dominic Poleon (Egli Kaja), Lyle Taylor.