Dons Gain A Point From Darlington Trip

Darlington 0 v Wimbledon 0

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Wimbledon were held to a goalless draw at Darlington on Saturday (8 January) to record their second successive away-trip stalemate.

With the squad still affected by illness and injuries, manager Terry Brown handed a debut to midweek signing Jamie Stuart, who slotted in alongside Fraser Franks in the heart of the Dons defence, but was again unable to fill the substitutes’ bench.

And the Dons were on the backfoot for periods of the game as they struggled to adapt to tricky conditions that had seen the pitch subjected to a pre-match inspection.

The home side had first-half chances through Curtis Main (twice), Aman Verma and Liam Hatch.

But the Dons had chances of their own, with Christian Jolley forcing Darlington keeper Sam Russell into a near-post save in the 42nd minute. And moments later Sammy Moore had the chance of the period, with Sammy Moore finding himself unmarked in the area only to see his effort saved by Russell.

Seb Brown produced an equally good save early in the second period, from Hatch’s effort, with Marc Bridge-Wilkinson’s follow-up being deflected over. The subsequent corner saw Adam Quinn hit the bar from his header.

As the game went on the Dons came back into it, with Luke Moore’s 20-yard effort deflecting over and from the corner Darlington’s Jamie Chandler headed against his own woodwork.

Given the tricky conditions, Wimbledon boss Brown was happy with a point, telling the club’s official website: “I feel it was a point gained rather than two dropped.

“The conditions in no way suited our team and we were left to show passion and pride in what was a battling performance against a big and resourceful Darlington side.”

The Dons now host Luton Town on Wednesday 12 January in a top-of-the-table clash that both teams will be keen to win as they attempt to keep up the pressure on Crawley Town, who have games in hand.

And then on Saturday 15 January attention returns to the FA Trophy as the Dons entertain Surrey neighbours Woking in a 2nd Round tie.

 Attendance: 2,046

Darlington: Russell, Chandler, Miller, Hatch, Main (Wright 73), Quinn, Verma, Arnison, Smith, Brown, Bridge-Wilkinson. Subs not used: Gray, C. Moore, Burn, Taylor.

Booked: Hatch 85.

Wimbledon: Brown, Hatton, Bush, Gregory, Stuart, Franks, Mulley, S. Moore, Kedwell, Jolley (L. Moore 46), Jackson (Nwokeji 46). Subs not used: Turner, Harris.

Referee: Andy Madley (West Yorkshire).

Rob Crane

January 8, 2011