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Match Reports

Dons stage a thrilling late fightback at Luton

Wimbledon keep survival hopes alive

23 April 2019

AFC Wimbledon battled back in thrilling fashion to salvage a point at Luton Town with a last-gasp equaliser from Steve Seddon.

Seddon headed home in stoppage time to earn a dramatic 2-2 draw for The Dons against a Luton side bidding for promotion. It keeps alive Wimbledon’s hopes of staying up with Wycombe Wanderers up next at home on Saturday.   

Wally Downes decided to select an unchanged starting line-up at Kenilworth Road and the same players were also named on the bench as on Saturday. The Dons came into this match seeking to extend an unbeaten away run that stretched back to 1 February at Sunderland, but tonight was the ultimate test against a Luton side chasing the title.

The hosts threatened to break the deadlock in just the fourth minute when Kazenga Lua Lua shot from distance, but Aaron Ramsdale watched it all the way and tipped it wide. There was no reprieve though in the eighth minute when Jack Stacey got down the right, just about evading Steve Seddon’s sliding challenge, and his cross found Elliot Lee, who made no mistake. It was the worst possible start for Wimbledon, as Luton’s home support made plenty of noise to drive their team forward. It could have got worse with James Collins played clean through on goal, albeit at an angle, but he shot wide of the near post.

There was no let-up from Luton in the first 15 minutes and Wimbledon needed Aaron Ramsdale to be at his best when he reacted superbly to come off his line and deny Lua Lua with his feet. Inadvertently, this game was held up for around four minutes due to the referee’s assistant requiring treatment and he was eventually stretchered off. It perhaps gave Wimbledon’s players a chance to regroup after a very difficult start and the game got underway again after a replacement official was called up for the touchline. That delay certainly disrupted Luton’s flow and Wimbledon equalised in the 27th minute. Toby Sibbick showed good perseverance to get down the right, before slipping the ball to Anthony Wordsworth and his cross was headed home expertly by Joe Pigott.

Luton came so close to edging back in front when Luke Berry’s header beat Ramsdale, but Wordsworth did superbly to head off the line. In an all-action first-half, a fine Dons move ended with Toby Sibbick having a shot that Luton keeper Marek Stech did well to save with his feet. However, the hosts did go back in front in the 39th minute. A free-kick from the right picked out James Collins, who was left completely unmarked in the box and he headed home emphatically. As we approached half-time, Luton poured forward in search of a second and Steve Seddon had to get back to clear from close to his own goal line. The half-time whistle came at the right time for Wimbledon against a rampant Luton attack.

Wimbledon made a half-time change with Rod McDonald replaced by Terell Thomas. The intensity shown by Luton so far continued into the second-half. Ramsdale got down well to deny Lee just minutes into the second-half and there was no let-up from the hosts. In the 56th minute Ramsdale did even better to tip a deflected shot from Andrew Shinnie wide. From the subsequent corner, the ball was only half cleared and James Justin struck an effort that was bound for the top corner, but Ramsdale again saved it.

Wally Downes made his second change in the 63rd minute with Dylan Connolly replacing Scott Wagstaff. The Dons were fortunate not to be 3-1 down midway through the second-half when a cross was delivered to the back post for Luke Berry, but he steered just wide from close-range. Following a difficult start to the second-half, Wimbledon steadied the ship by earning a better share of the possession, but it was a shame that chances to create something from set pieces were not taken. However, there was a clear chance 17 minutes from time when Connolly sent over a superb delivery from the right that picked out Seddon, but his header flashed just wide.

As we approached the final 10 minutes, anxiety started to creep in around Kenilworth Road with Luton having failed to kill the game off. Certainly, Wimbledon were having enough possession to make something happen, but the cutting edge was lacking and Pigott, who had been such a menace to Luton in the first-half, was unable to make an impression. Jack Stacey struck the crossbar near the end for Luton, but Wimbledon were able to stay in it during the latter stages. A great chance was missed though when James Hanson headed wide after a great ball in from Toby Sibbick. There was still late drama to come though and what a finish it was! Sibbick’s cross was met by Pigott, whose shot was well saved by the keeper, but Seddon was there to head home.

AFC Wimbledon: Aaron Ramsdale, Will Nightingale, Scott Wagstaff (Dylan Connolly), Anthony Hartigan(Mitch Pinnock), Steve Seddon, James Hanson, Toby Sibbick, Rod McDonald (Terell Thomas) Paul Kalambayi, Joe Pigott, Anthony Wordsworth.

Pic credit: Stephen Wright, Pro Sports Images.

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