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Key players come through 90 minutes as the Dons wrap up pre-season

Wimbledon keep a clean sheet in final friendly

28 July 2018

By Rob Cornell

Many of Neal Ardley's key players clocked up vital match time at Boreham Wood, ahead of next weekend's League One opener.

The Dons produced their best efforts in the first half at Meadow Park, but Luke Garrard’s National League side proved more of a test with the best chance of the second period in a goalless draw.

Neal Ardley took the opportunity to cast an eye over Doncaster left-back Tyler Garratt. Five of the Dons summer signings came through the full game, including striker James Hanson (pictured). Joe McDonnell kept a clean sheet in goal, while Paul Kalambayi stepped up from the under-21s to partner skipper Deji Oshilaja in the centre of defence.

The first real opportunity came in just the second minute when Mitch Pinnock forced a save out of Boreham Wood keeper Ryan Huddart, following good work down the flanks from Oshilaja and the lively Scott Wagstaff. Huddart was called into action again three minutes later, to make a low save from Anthony Wordsworth. The hosts fought back and Angelo Balanta’s effort ended up just wide of McDonnell’s near post, five minutes later.

Kwesi Appiah charged down a Boreham Wood clearance with their defence forced to take action to prevent the on-rushing Liam Trotter from opening the scoring. McDonnell saved a close range effort from Femi Ilesanmi on the quarter of an hour mark.

Kalambayi became involved in a physical battle for the ball with Morgan Ferrier around the midway point of the half, as McDonnell helped out by making the clearance. Down the other end, Garratt provided an accurate cross from the left which Huddart claimed.

As the half wore on in breezy conditions, Boreham Wood looked to put the new-look Wimbledon defence under pressure on the counter-attack from the Dons expansive football. Wordsworth struck a low shot from distance with half-time approaching, but surprisingly the score line was goalless at the break.

Wimbledon looked to push forward in the early stages of the second-half, but the opening quarter of an hour saw little action on either goal as both sides battled for control of the game.

Ferrier, Manny Parry and Keiran Murtagh tried to test McDonnell in increasingly windy conditions approaching the midway point of the half. It was former AFC Wimbledon defender Ilesanmi who produced Boreham Wood’s best effort though, as he forced a good save out of McDonnell with twenty minutes remaining.

Two minutes from time hopes for a late penalty were dashed, as the referee awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box, but the Dons were unable to break the deadlock before the final whistle.

AFC Wimbledon: McDonnell, Watson, Kalambayi, Oshilaja, Garratt, Wordsworth. Trotter, Pinnock, Wagstaff, Appiah, Hanson.

Pic credit: Matt Redman (Pro Sports Images).

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