Cheltenham 1 v Wimbledon 1
Adam Barrett scored his first Wimbledon league goal as the Dons came from behind to draw 1-1 at Cheltenham on Saturday (4 October).
The imposing centre-back, on loan from Gillingham, seized on his chance to shank the ball home through a crowded goal area and give the Dons a share of the spoils that was no less than they deserved.
And manager Neal Ardley gave his side rare public praise, telling BBC London 94.9: ‘It is a good point, it was a resilient point. Everyone should be pleased with how we have played.’
But the afternoon got off to a terrible start for the Dons, who were behind inside the opening 10 minutes. Sean Rigg was caught napping at a throw-in deep in the Wimbledon half, allowing Vaughan to deliver a low near-post cross that forced a block from James Shea at the feet of Byron Harrison. But as Shea attempted to regain sight of the ball, it fell behind his back to where the lurking Matt Taylor was on hand to blast home and put the home side 1-0 ahead.
The home side did manage to go close again through a fiercely struck Raffaele De Vita volley screwed narrowly off target, but Wimbledon soon established the pattern that was to remain for the rest of the match, with plenty of good approach play.
The usually reliable Matt Tubbs had already spurned one glorious opening just before the half hour, heading at Trevor Carson when he would have expected to do better, but the Dons were finally level just before the break.
George Francomb was given the chance for a second cross after his initial corner was blocked, and the ball fell kindly for Barrett who made no mistake to net and make it 1-1, his second goal in Dons colours following an earlier winner against Southend in the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy.
The second half turned into a much more end-to-end affair, although the home side rarely threatened Shea’s goal. In contrast, the Dons came closest to winning it.
With 15 minutes remaining Adebayo Akinfenwa produced a moment of skill, receiving a throw-in and turning his man on the edge of the box to unleash a powerful shot that evaded Carson but hit the Cheltenham bar before bouncing clear.
And five minutes later he went close again, picking up the ball on the edge of the centre circle and producing a rare turn of speed to beat three Cheltenham players as he burst towards the penalty box. But his shot from the edge of the ‘D’ went agonisingly wide with the sprawling Carson beaten.
On balance, a draw was a fair result, but the Dons will perhaps feel the more frustrated at not having converted it into a maximum points haul.
They entertain table-topping Bury at Kingsmeadow on Saturday (11 October), following that up with a trip to face former Wimbledon hero Gareth Ainsworth’s Wycombe Wanderers side the following week.
Cheltenham: Carson, Deaman, Taylor, Elliott, Vaughan, Hanks, Richards, De Vita (Kotwica 71), Braham-Barrett, Harrison (Haworth 92), Marquis (Gornell 79). Subs not used: Gould, Sterling-James, Bowen, Lawrence.
Goalscorer: Taylor 8.
Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Bennett, Barrett, Smith, Francomb (Beere 82), Bulman, Moore, Rigg, Tubbs (Azeez 85), Akinfenwa. Subs not used: Frampton, Sainte-Luce, Nicholson, McDonnell, Harrison.
Goalscorer: Barrett 41.
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October 5, 2014