Dons Off The Mark Following Northampton Stalemate

Northampton 0 v Wimbledon 0

Wimbledon finally brought their League One campaign to life as they earned their first point of the season with a 0-0 draw at Northampton Town on Saturday (20 August).

The Dons had suffered three successive league defeats at the start of the season, letting in seven goals in the process, but this was an improved defensive display against a side who were also promoted this summer.

‘A clean sheet and a first point is always good,’ manager Neal Ardley reflected afterwards on DonsPlayer, before going on to comment on the strong wind.

‘It was really tough out there today. Their keeper is a decent kicker of the ball and you could see how much he was struggling with the wind in the first half.

‘But we’re happy we’re off the mark and we know we’ve got a lot of work to do.’

The Dons started confidently but it was the hosts who fashioned the first chances, with John-Joe O’Toole heading narrowly over and Kenji Gorré forcing a smart save from Ryan Clarke moments later.

Wimbledon came to the fore in the closing moments of the first period as Tom Elliott first forced a save from home keeper Adam Smith and then headed wide as the Dons won a succession of corners.

And Ardley’s men resumed on the front foot after the interval, with Elliott again forcing a save from Smith and Lyle Taylor also getting in an effort on target.

Taylor also saw a free-kick from the edge of the box come to nothing while Elliott was again involved with 19 minutes remaining, only to fire off target.

With the minutes ticking away them came close to snatching a win when following a Jake Reeves corner Sean Kelly headed against the bar, the Northampton defence smuggling the rebound away to safety as substitute Tyrone Barnett threatened to pounce.

The solitary point lifts the Dons off the bottom of the table at the expense of pre-season promotion favourites Sheffield United. On Saturday (27 August) the Dons travel to Rochdale, who have also endured a sluggish start, before hosting Chesterfield on 3 September.

Northampton: Smith, Phillips, Zakuani, Diamond, Buchanan, Hoskins (McCourt 83), O’Toole, Taylor, Gorré (Beautyman 62), Richards (Sonupe 72), Revell. Subs not used: Moloney, Potter, Nyatanga, Cornell.

Wimbledon: Clarke, Fuller, Charles, Robinson, Kelly, Whelpdale, Bulman, Reeves, Barcham, Elliott (Barnett 77), Taylor (Poleon 77). Subs not used: Shea, Nightingale, Beere, Parrett, Fitzpatrick.

Att: 5,185.

By Rob Crane

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August 19, 2016