Carlisle 4 v Wimbledon 4
Adebayo Azeez’s injury-time goal salvaged a point for topsy-turvy Wimbledon as they drew 4-4 at Carlisle United on Saturday (6 September).
The Dons twice took a first-half lead before finding themselves 2-4 down with just nine minutes remaining, before staging a late rally that culminated with Azeez’s goal to snatch a point.
The Dons took the lead after just three minutes when Sean Rigg capitalised on sloppy defensive play by the hosts to steal possession from defender David Symington and beat the keeper to make it 1-0 to the Dons.
Rigg spurned another chance before Carlisle drew level in the 13th minute. Matt Tubbs gave the ball away in midfield, allowing Patrick Brough to send over a deep cross that Kyle Dempsey headed home into the top corner.
But any fault Tubbs might have had for the equaliser was more than compensated for as he restored Wimbledon’s advantage midway through the half. The League Two Player of the Month maintained his excellent goalscoring form by getting behind his marker before firing home past Mark Gillespie to make it 2-1.
And it could have been 3-1 to the Dons at the break as Dannie Bulman and Tubbs lined up to create another opening for Rigg, who shot wide from close range.
And the Dons were made to pay as in first-half injury time Carlisle drew level, Dempsey getting on the scoresheet again to make it 2-2 at the break.
Adebayo Akinfenwa came close to opening his account for the Dons soon after the break but his curling effort with the outside of his foot following a sublime bit of skill was just off target, but after that Carlisle took control.
First Josh Gillies capitalised on not being closed down to cut inside and blast home emphatically.
And then they took a 4-2 lead with twenty minutes remaining as Dempsey set up Brad Potts who lofted the ball home.
But with nine minutes remaining the Dons were handed a lifeline as Gary Dicker handled Azeez’s shot in the box, an offence that produced not just a red card for Dicker but also a successfully converted penalty kick by Tubbs to claw it back to 3-4.
And deep into injury time the Dons’ perseverance was rewarded when Azeez was quickest to react to Tubbs’ parried effort, rising high to nod into the back of the net and make it 4-4.
Afterwards Dons boss Neal Ardley told DonsPlayer: ‘It was a game at 2-1 that we should have gone on and won. We are not doing a lot of the basics that League Two demands and it’s something that we have to look at.
‘We have players with huge experience and know-how and we have to look at why we’re conceding silly goals.’
The Dons get a chance to rectify those mistakes on Saturday (13 September) before hosting Burton Albion in a midweek encounter at Kingsmeadow on 16 September.
Carlisle: Gillespie, Symington, Grainger, O’Hanlon, Brough, Dicker, Sweeney, Potts (Thirlwell 87), Gillies, Dempsey (Amoo 90), Elliott (Beck 77). Subs not used: Hanford, Steven Rigg, Douglas, Hammell.
Goalscorers: Dempsey 13, 45, Gillies 52, Potts 70.
Booked: O’Hanlon 41.
Sent off: Dicker 81.
Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Bennett, Barrett, Kennedy, Nicholson (Beere 79), Bulman, Moore (Sainte-Luce 68), Sean Rigg (Azeez 69), Tubbs, Akinfenwa. Subs not used: Worner, Phillips, Nightingale, Harrison.
Goalscorers: Rigg 4, Tubbs 22, 81 (pen), Azeez 90.
Booked: Bennett 42, Nicholson 64.Att: 3,955