Wimbledon Face Fleetwood In Play-Offs

Forest Green Rovers 0 v Wimbledon 0

Wimbledon will face Fleetwood Town in the play-off semi-finals after this tame 0-0 draw at relegation threatened Forest Green Rovers on Monday (25 April).

The Dons again fielded a weakened side as they seek to maintain peak fitness within the squad and, with the home side seemingly content with a point to aid their survival battle, the game soon degenerated into a tame affair.

It could have been so different as the Dons came out of the traps with determination, hitting the bar twice in the opening three minutes. First Lee Minshull saw a dinked attempt at a cross-cum-shot hit the top of the bar and rebound back into play.

And then moments later a Ricky Wellard corner achieved the same feat with home goalkeeper James Bittner floundering.

Christian Jolley and Ryan Jackson were causing problems for the home defence with their runs from full-back, and it was a cross from the latter that saw Minshull’s header gathered by Bittner.

Mark Nwokeji went close following a James Mulley free-kick as his header had had Bittner scrambling at his far post as it looked like drifting in. But Seb Brown also head to be alert to turn over one looping Forest Green header following a free-kick of their own.

The Dons continued to push forwards right from the start of the second half, as Bittner was immediately called into action to palm away Kirk Hudson’s fierce drive.

But the home side were increasingly getting chances on the counter attack, and Brown again had to be alert to palm away a looping cross that threatened to drop underneath his bar and then to gather bravely at the edge of his box when faced with a one-on-one.

The game ended with the Dons again pressing, with Ismail Yakubu going closed with a hooked effort from a high Wellard ball into the box that Bittner turned behind, but they couldn’t get the breakthrough that their approach play perhaps deserved.

The Dons entertain Grimsby Town on Saturday (30 April) in their final game of the regular season, with a 5.15 pm kick-off time.

The play-offs then get underway with the Dons travelling to Fleetwood on Friday 6 May before hosting the return match on Wednesday 11 May. The play-off final is scheduled for the City of Manchester Stadium on Saturday 21 May.

Attendance: 1,824

Forest Green: Bittner, Hodgkiss, Jones, Armstrong, Styche (Matthews 55), Dyer, Caines, McDonald (Gray 87), Forbes, Somner, Allen. Subs not used: Else, Guinan, Enver-Marum.

Booked: Jones 90.

Wimbledon: Brown, Jackson, Jolley, Wellard, Yakubu, Stuart, Mulley, Minshull, Nwokeji (Kedwell 62), Hudson (Mohamed 62), Kiernan (Johnson 71). Subs not used: Turner, Yussuff.

Referee: Wayne Barratt (Worcestershire).

Rob Crane