By Chris Slavin
AFC Wimbledon earned a first away point since late January with a good display on the road at Peterborough today.
Though Wimbledon were pegged back after Lyle Taylor's opener, there was encouragement to be taken from the 1-1 draw with Neal Ardley's men ending a run of three successive away defeats.
The outcome made it four points out of six after beating Bristol Rovers last time out and Wimbledon's travelling support clapped off their team at the end.
Neal Ardley made two changes to the side that started last time out against Bristol Rovers with one of those enforced due to the absence of Darius Charles, who missed out due to a hip injury, and Harry Forrester was recalled. As part of a reshuffled back-line, Jon Meades switched from midfield to left-back with Barry Fuller partnering Deji Oshilaja at centre-back and George Francomb filling the right-back berth.
At a venue where AFC Wimbledon triumphed last season, it was a bright start from the Dons. In a good spell of early pressure, Deji Oshilaja rose high in the box to meet a corner from Lyle Taylor, but his header flashed just wide. Just minutes later, Harry Forrester showed good movement to find space on the right flank, and he drove a shot across the face of goal. Wimbledon certainly had no problems earning a good share of possession with Jimmy Abdou and Liam Trotter getting on the ball. A lovely run by Abdou earned a free-kick just outside the box that Harry Forrester struck well, but well over the crossbar.
As we approached the midway point of the first-half, Peterborough had caused very little problems for the Dons. Indeed, the home faithful were starting to vent their frustrations, as they watched their team bid to end a run of six games without a win. Moments of threat from the hosts in the first-half had been very rare. Marcus Maddison, who scored in the corresponding fixture, blazed over and curled an effort into the arms of George Long. The Wimbledon keeper also showed good awareness to come off his line and deny Peterborough's Jack Maddison when he attempted to lob the ball over him.
In a first-half of few chances, Wimbledon came closest when Andy Barcham cut inside from the right and tried a curler that just missed the far post. It had certainly been an encouraging first-half from Wimbledon, albeit without testing Peterborough keeper Jonathan Bond, and all five shots from the visitors were off target. On the stroke of half-time, Wimbledon needed Barry Fuller to clear off the line after Long had misjudged a cross from Maddison.
At the start of the second-half, Harry Forrester created space for a shot with a nice turn inside, but his effort was wide of the far post. However, Peterborough had their first spell of sustained pressure 10 minutes into the second-half, penning Wimbledon back, and substitute Omar Bogle tried his luck with an effort wide. Wimbledon threatened to create a chance at the other end when Lyle Taylor curled in a fine delivery from a corner, but Oshilaja was just unable to get on the end of it.
Around the hour mark, Wimbledon upped the tempo and started to take the game to Peterborough once again. Harry Forrester showed good skill to win a free-kick just outside the area to the right and Taylor curled in a wonderful free-kick that just evaded everyone in the box. However, midway through the second-half, Peterborough started to work-up a head of steam and they came really close to opening the scoring. First, Danny Lloyd's header was cleared off the line by Fuller and then the Wimbledon captain stayed alert to head away Chris Forrester's follow-up. Leo Da Silva Lopes then struck a fierce drive that bounced just wide. In a second-half that was more free flowing, Barcham was just stopped in his tracks, but the ball fell nicely for Trotter, who struck a powerful volley that Bond held well.
Wimbledon made the breakthrough in style with 16 minutes to play when Oshilaja put through a lovely ball for Lyle Taylor and he took one touch, before striking an impressive angled drive past Bond. The lead lasted less than five minutes with Maddison finishing clinically after a fine defence-splitting pass from Marriott. That equaliser changed the dynamics of the game and now it was Peterborough going all out for victory, Wimbledon needing George Long to make a great save to deny Lloyd. With Posh pushing on for a winner, Wimbledon had to dig in to earn a point and it was a good display on the road from the Dons.
AFC Wimbledon: George Long, Barry Fuller, Jonathan Meades, Deji Oshilaja, George Francomb, Jimmy Abdou, Harry Forrester, Liam Trotter, Andy Barcham (Egli Kaja), Lyle Taylor, Joe Pigott (Dean Parrett).
Pic credit: Dennis Goodwin, Pro Sports Images.