Mark Robinson’s side were left with a familiar feeling of frustration as AFC Wimbledon played out an entertaining 2-2 draw with Doncaster Rovers.
The task in hand was clear for our young side heading into this match – regain our energy and get firing again after two disappointing results on the road.
And it was one in which the Dons certainly attacked well as we took the lead through Jack Rudoni’s headed goal – a fitting way to mark his return from injury and it appeared that things were moving in the right direction again.
It then got even better in the second half as Luke McCormick doubled our lead to send the home faithful into overdrive.
However, we were taught a harsh lesson and were very much left kicking ourselves as Tommy Rowe scored a quick-fire double to send shockwaves across the stadium.
Wimbledon did however rally towards the end and Will Nightingale came agonisingly close to winning it at the death, the Doncaster backline somehow keeping the ball out when it appeared for all the world that it was hitting the back of the net.
Again, we cannot afford to stop and feel sorry for ourselves and simply must up our game next time out in order to get the three points that we yearn for.
Robbo rang the changes for this return to home turf, with the likes of Ayoub Assal, Rudoni, Alex Woodyard, Paul Kalambayi and Lee Brown all coming in for the Dons.
This meant that Ethan Chislett, Dapo Mebude, Ben Heneghan, Paul Osew and Aaron Cosgrave all dropped out of the starting eleven, whilst Aaron Pressley was named on the bench again after making his return to action at Gillingham.
The game started with the brisk pace that is to be expected from two sides who were determined to pick up three points in front of a boisterous crowd at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.
Woodyard and George Marsh formed an industrious partnership in the centre of the park, shuttling the ball between the thirds and giving us the legs to begin to take control of the contest.
And it didn’t take long for the building momentum to reach its tipping point as Wimbledon took the lead with Rudoni meeting McCormick’s free kick to head home powerfully from close range.
“Stand up if you love the Dons” echoed around the ground as the yellow and blue hoards rose to their feet after half an hour gone – there was a feeling in the air that this could be a turning point for our young side. Indeed, that appeared to be the case as the 22 men on the field streamed off down the tunnel at half time.
Wimbledon raced out the traps with the bit between their teeth and soon got another reward for their efforts through another fine headed goal.
This time Brown was the provider as he floated a brilliant delivery into the box, with McCormick popping up to head home into the far corner.
Robbo’s boys were now at their free-flowing best and the home fans were responding well in unison, urging them on with every kick.
However, we were quickly given a reality check as Doncaster got back into the game with a well worked goal that was finished off at the back post by Tommy Rowe.
And unfortunately lightning soon struck twice, with Rowe helping himself to his second with the Dons defence all at sea as we struggled to regain our composure after the shock of the first goal.
A second wind was needed if the Dons were to get their noses in front once more and it was all hands to the pump as the game headed into the final 10 minutes. Doncaster still continued to pose a threat and Brown had to be at his best to make a goal line clearance as the visitors threatened to snatch the lead.
Deep into added on time Nightingale came mightily close to giving this topsy-turvy game the finish it deserved with his late effort somehow staying out as Donny also rode their luck with the seconds ticking away.
In the end it was a share of the spoils for both sides as the full-time whistle blew with the result being one that neither would have wanted heading into this game.
AFC Wimbledon: Nik Tzanev, Alex Woodyard, Will Nightingale, George Marsh, Cheye Alexander, Sam Cosgrove (Aaron Pressley), Ayoub Assal (Dapo Mebude), Jack Rudoni, Luke McCormick (Ethan Chislett), Paul Kalambayi, Lee Brown.