AFC Wimbledon were held to a 1-1 draw by Milton Keynes Dons on Saturday afternoon in a match that was filled with plenty of suspense and entertainment.
We took to the task of matching a side fighting for promotion brilliantly, and our early efforts were deservedly rewarded by an unlikely hero - Alex Woodyard firing home a half volley.
This cranked the atmosphere inside our spiritual home up a gear as we continued to have the better of the play in the first 45 minutes.
Unfortunately, after we defended doggedly for the majority of the second half the visitors equalised through Troy Parrott’s finish to set up a tense final 10 minutes at Plough Lane.
In the end the spoils were shared and after the dust had settled it was clear to see that it was another step in the right direction for Mark Bowen’s men, with other results across the division seeing the gap to safety cut to just three points.
Make no mistake, this was certainly a performance that gives us the platform to build as we head into the final four games of another gruelling league campaign.
Bowen made two changes to the side which drew 1-1 against Charlton Athletic in midweek with Paul Kalambayi and Nesta Guinness-Walker coming into the starting 11 in place of Dan Csoka and Paul Osew.
Meanwhile Sam Cosgrove, Luke McCormick and Anthony Hartigan all returned to the squad, taking their respective places on the bench for this game.
A cauldron of noise greeted the two sides ahead of this game, with both knowing what was at stake at this crucial stage of the season.
Wimbledon began the stronger of the two sides and it wasn’t long until our pressure got the goal that it deserved. A free kick wasn’t cleared properly by the opposition, with Woodyard firing home a half volley that took the roof off Plough Lane.
The momentum was really with Wimbledon now and Zach Robinson was next to have a pop, with the striker working himself some room before firing in a shot that drifted wide.
Aside from the final third, we remained solid when our opponents did venture into our half, with the midfield and forward line working their socks off to support the back five.
In the end it was a half that couldn’t have gone any better for those of a yellow and blue persuasion as the teams headed in at the break.
The second 45 minutes started cagily but Ayoub Assal was quickly into his stride, showing great trickery on the left to open up the space for a cross, with Robinson being inches away from getting the telling touch.
Roared on by a packed-out South London Movers End, Wimbledon continued to hold the visitors at bay, hassling and harrying at every opportunity – leading to many passes being hit astray by the men from Buckinghamshire.
However, the away side did begin to increase the pressure on the Wimbledon backline and in the end it told as Parrott equalised with a volleyed effort from the angle of the box.
It set up a grandstand finish, with both sides pushing for a winner right up until the dying seconds.
Alas, there was to be no late heroics with the points being shared after what was an afternoon of high tension.
Next up for the Dons is a trip to Gresty Road as we take on Crewe Alexandra in another vital end of season game.
AFC Wimbledon: Nik Tzanev, Henry Lawrence, Dan Csoka, Alex Woodyard, Will Nightingale, George Marsh, Ayoub Assal (Luke McCormick), Jack Rudoni, Zach Robinson (Ethan Chislett), Nesta Guinness-Walker, Ben Heneghan, Paul Kalambayi (Sam Cosgrove).