Last-Gasp Jones Grabs Point For Dons

Burton 1 v Wimbledon 1

A Darren Jones goal deep into injury time snatched a share of the spoils for Wimbledon as they drew 1-1 at Burton Albion on Saturday (15 March).

The Dons were trailing to a first-half Billy Kee penalty and the game was into the eighth minute of injury time when Jones capitalised on a partially cleared corner to fire a shot through a crowded penalty area and into the back of the net.

Satisfied Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley told the club’s official website afterwards: ‘[Burton] only really had chances when they broke away on us in the second half.

‘Other than that, we were in the ascendancy, particularly in the second half. I think it would have been an injustice if we’d lost the game.’

But for a long time it looked as if that would be the outcome as the Dons again started with the 4-5-1 formation that had earned a midweek point against Chesterfield; it wasn’t until switching to a traditional 4-4-2 at half-time that the Dons stepped up a gear.

By then they were already 0-1 down against their promotion-chasing hosts, having fallen behind when Alan Bennett tripped Dominic Knowles in the box, with Kee stepping up to blast the ball into the back of the net.

And Wimbledon’s problems were compounded on the half hour when the influential Barry Fuller – playing at left-back with centre-back Jones at right-back – was forced off through injury, to be replaced by on-loan Fulham youngster Tom Richards.

Ross Worner was also called into action to beat away a powerful drive from Jimmy Phillips as the home side enjoyed the better of the first period.

But the introduction of Charlie Wyke at half-time to play alongside Danny Hylton helped turn things around for the Dons as they started creating opportunities of their own.

Wyke himself headed over from a Richards cross, while Hylton also spurned a chance when he found himself flagged onside and in acres of space to meet a Michael Collins cross, but the former Aldershot man produced a lame effort straight at Burton keeper Rob Lainton.

With Francomb also shooting off target, the Dons were indebted to Worner who produced a good save to turn over a well-placed free-kick from Damien McCory, as well as denying Matty Palmer.

But it looked as if a result had eluded Wimbledon until, deep into time added on to reflect Burton’s lethargic approach to the second period, Jones capitalised to grab a share of the spoils.

The Dons have now earned two creditable points from successive games against Chesterfield and Burton but remain a precarious six points above the relegation zone. They will be hoping to increase that gap when they entertain Cheltenham Town at Kingsmeadow on Saturday (22 March) before Tuesday’s crucial trip to strugglers Northampton Town.

Burton: Lainton, Edwards, McCrory, Weir, Holness, Cansdell-Sherriff, Ismail (MacDonald 57), Bell, Kee, Knowles (Palmer 55), Phillips (Gray 94). Subs not used: Lyness, McGurk, Dyer, Slade.

Goalscorer: Kee 22 (pen).

Wimbledon: Worner, Jones, Fuller (Richards 31), Collins, Frampton, Bennett, Francomb, S. Moore, Hylton (Midson 70), Pell (Wyke 46), Sainte-Luce. Subs not used: Sweeney, Antwi, Arthur, Brown.

Goalscorer: Jones 98.

Booked: Jones 27, S. Moore 63, Frampton 83.

Att: 2,592.

By Rob Crane

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March 15, 2014