Crewe 3 v Wimbledon 3
Christian Jolley's late equaliser spared Wimbledon defenders' blushes as they drew 3-3 at Crewe Alexandra on Saturday (25 February).
Wimbledon had taken an early lead through Billy Knott's edge-of-the-box strike before their porous defence returned it with interest, the home side holding a 3-1 interval break.
But Seb Brown's second-half penalty save combined with a Sammy Moore blockbuster and Jolley’s late header to rescue a point for Terry Brown’s men.
And the Wimbledon boss told the club’s official website afterwards: "The goals we conceded in the first-half were horrendous.
"Once we got the second goal, I thought we could draw or win it. We showed great character in the end."
The Dons had taken a fifth minute lead, successfully finishing their first attack of the game. Jack Midson and Jason Euell combined to set up Knott and his effort went in off the post to beat Steve Phillips.
But the Dons' defensive frailties were again exposed as they conceded twice in as many minutes to find themselves 2-1 behind.
First Seb Brown was possibly at fault as he was beaten by the swerve on Byron Moore's long-distance drive. And then Greg Pearson’s simple long ball found Nick Powell who shot home.
With the visitors on the backfoot, their gloom was increased when Crewe took a 3-1 lead just after the half hour, Pearson beating Mat Mitchel-King to Luke Murphy’s cross to convert with an acrobatic finish.
And the home side could have got a handful more before the break, with both Byron Moore and Pearson missing gilt-edged chances to add to the score.
Knott saw a second-half effort saved by Phillips after being played in by Rashid Yussuff, but the turning point came just after the hour.
Jamie Stuart was penalised for hauling down Powell in the box, but Seb Brown guessed right to save Ashley Westwood's penalty kick.
Four goals behind would have surely have killed off any Dons ambitions, but combined with a switch to a more attacking formation it served to encourage them forward.
First, with nine minutes remaining, substitute Gavin Hoyte fed Sammy Moore and his long-range effort sizzled home to make it 3-2 and give the Dons hope.
And then, right at the death, substitute Jolley got on the end of a Midson cross to loop home a header with Phillips off his line.
The Dons will be hoping for a more solid defensive display - and the avoidance of last-gasp heart-in-the-mouth salvage missions - when they travel to Hereford United on Saturday 3 March. Three days later they entertain Plymouth Argyle at Kingsmeadow.
Crewe Alex: Phillips, Tootle, Davis, Westwood, Artell, Dugdale, Murphy, B. Moore, Shelley (Bell 80), Powell (Martin 89), Pearson (Miller 90). Subs not used: Martin, Clayton.
Goalscorers: B. Moore 10, Powell 11, Pearson 31.
Booked: Bell 90.
Wimbledon: Brown, Hatton, Bush (Hoyte 54), S. Moore, Mitchel-King, Stuart, Yussuff, Moncur (Harrison 74), Midson, Euell (Jolley 84), Knott. Subs not used: Turner, H. Johnson.
Goalscorers: Knott 7, S. Moore 81, Jolley 90.
Booked: Bush 47, S. Moore 62, Knott 90.
By Rob Crane
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February 25, 2012