Peterborough 1 v AFC Wimbledon 1
AFC Wimbledon’s Achilles heel was again on display as they gained a potentially valuable 1-1 draw at Peterborough United on Saturday (24 February) but managed to chalk up just two shots on target.
Dons manager Neal Ardley has often insisted during the course of this season that the statistics show his team has been unlucky, but once again in this match they showed that the Dons squander multiple goalscoring chances with woeful finishing. It is this weakness that has led to the Dons battling relegation as it negates a defence that has been comparatively solid, particularly with the form of inspirational on-loan goalkeeper George Long.
Nevertheless, while Wimbledon struggled to show much goal-scoring threat in this match, the result provides another potentially valuable point towards League One survival, with results elsewhere doing little damage to the Dons’ league standing.
The first period was marked by few goalscoring opportunities for either side. Andy Barcham went closest for the visitors when he picked up a Joe Pigott pass and cut inside before curling an effort narrowly off target, while Long denied Jack Marriott and Marcus Maddison.
The home side really should have done better in the second half when Maddison’s cross found Danny Lloyd unmarked and just metres from goal. But Lloyd’s first touch was atrocious and sent the ball high into the sky, allowing Long to punch clear, with Chris Forrester’s follow-up header being cleared off the line by Barry Fuller.
Leo Da Silva Lopes had a long-range effort just off target as the home side continued to press, but Wimbledon took the lead with quarter of an hour remaining. Deji Oshilaja intercepted a pass in his own half and stepped up towards the halfway line before playing a ball over the top of the Peterborough defence. Lyle Taylor showed composure to get behind his markers, bring the ball under control and slot home for his 11th league goal of the season.
Wimbledon’s lead lasted just four minutes before the home side were level. Jimmy Abdou was guilty of allowing Maddison’s run from deep to elude him, a fact capitalised upon by Marriott who slid the ball past three Wimbledon shirts to set up Maddison for a comparatively straightforward conversion.
Peterborough now pushed for a winner and it was backs-to-the-wall defending for the Dons, none more so than when Long pulled off a full-length save to deny Omar Bogle following the latter’s neat turn on the edge of the penalty area.
‘Coming away to Peterborough and getting a point is a really good result,’ Ardley reflected on the club’s iFollow Dons channel afterwards, ‘but when you are 1-0 up with 15 minutes to go, you believe [you can get a win].
‘I cannot fault much. The defending was spot on. They have carved a lot of teams open but we kept it quite tight, and I thought we had a threat going forward. The boys put in a shift, we were well organised, but we did not quite see it through to get three points.’
Weather permitting, Wimbledon now have two back-to-back home matches against promotion-chasing opposition as they entertain Blackburn Rovers (Tuesday 27 February) and Charlton Athletic (Saturday 3 March).
Peterborough: Bond, Shephard (Morias 76), Tafazolli (Taylor 45), Baldwin, Freestone, Grant (Bogle 45), Forrester, Da Silva Lopes, Maddison, Lloyd-McGoldrick, Marriott. Subs not used: Ward, Doughty, O’Malley, Cooper.
Goalscorer: Maddison 79.
Booked: Baldwin 80.
Wimbledon: Long, Francomb, Fuller, Oshilaja, Meades, Barcham (Kaja 72), Trotter, Abdou, Forrester, Pigott (Parrett 72), Taylor. Subs not used: Robinson, McDonald, Soares, Kennedy, McDonnell.
Goalscorer: Taylor 75.
Booked: Forrester 83, Long 93.
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February 26, 2018