Burton 0 v Wimbledon 0
Wimbledon earned a hard-earned point at league leaders Burton Albion on Tuesday (10 February), despite playing 25 minutes with just ten men.
Dons centre-back Mark Phillips, making a rare start in place of injured youngster Will Nightingale, was shown a straight red card in the 65th minute after tangling with Burton striker Stuart Beavon.
But the Dons still held on for a creditable point that knocked the hosts off the pinnacle and lifted the Dons to 11th in the table.
The Dons set themselves up with no wingers and after withstanding an initial flurry of Burton pressure almost took the lead in the 11th minute. Adebayo Akinfenwa released Craig Tanner down the right but from his cross Alfie Potter’s close-range effort was blocked by Burton keeper Joe McLaughlin.
But James Shea was again responsible for a top-drawer save when on the half hour as he turned Beavon’s fearsome strike onto the woodwork, denying the hosts from what was a rare effort on goal from them.
Solid defending, with Sammy Moore sitting in front of the defence, helped further restrict Burton, and it was again the Dons who went close soon after the interval, with Tanner struck just off target and Potter’s shot cleared off the line by Tom Naylor.
It was as the home side started increasing the pressure around the hour mark that Phillips’ sending off came. Phillips produced a crunching tackle on Beavon that saw both men fall to the floor in a tangle, and as they struggled to regain their footing Phillips’ arm came around towards Beavon’s neck. Referee Seb Stockbridge had no hesitation in showing a straight red.
But with Barry Fuller moving to the centre of defence and Sammy Moore dropping to right-back, the Dons’ defence still held firm.
And substitute Adebayo Azeez spurned two glorious chances to snatch an unlikely win, heading straight at McLaughlin and then finding himself forced wide by the Burton keeper.
This was the first time in seven home matches under Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink that Burton had dropped home points, but the Dons won’t be able to sit on their laurels: on Saturday (14 February) they visit the team who replaced them at the top of the table, Shrewsbury Town.
And that’s followed by an awkward home encounter against Luton Town on Saturday 21 February as the Dons seek to cement their midtable position.
Burton: McLaughlin, Edwards, Mousinho, Taft, McCrory, Calero (El Khayati 64), Naylor (Harness 89), Weir, McGurk, Akins, Beavon. Subs not used: Cansdell-Sherriff, Shelton, Slade, Doyle-Charles, Shearer.
Booked: Mousinho 90.
Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Phillips, Oshilaja, Kennedy, Potter (Rigg 74), Reeves, Bulman, Moore, Akinfenwa (Azeez 76), Tanner (Francomb 70). Subs not used: Beere, McDonnell, Sweeney, Connolly.
Booked: Akinfenwa 76.
Sent off: Phillips 65.
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February 11, 2015