Solid Dons Secure Scunthorpe Point

Scunthorpe 0 v Wimbledon 0

Wimbledon produced a strong defensive display to earn a 0-0 draw at league leaders Scunthorpe United on Saturday (18 January) as they bounced back from the previous week’s disappointing display.

The Dons had looked well below-par against Torquay but responded by digging in and earning a creditable point with a performance that left manager Neal Ardley pleased.

Referring obliquely to a rumoured training ground incident that has apparently seen George Porter sent back to Burnley with his loan deal terminated early, Ardley told the club’s official website: ‘After last week we had to start with a bit of steel.

‘I asked them to play like they were best friends with each other and they did that. We had to weather a couple of storms but you would expect that at the league leaders.’

The Dons earned this point despite losing influential defender Andy Frampton after just 11 minutes, the former Gillingham player dislocating his shoulder during a challenge with Terry Hawkridge.

That meant an earlier-than-planned entry into the fray for Aaron Morris, still seeking match fitness following his knee ligament injury suffered last season while with Aldershot, and further stretched a Dons squad that had again only been able to name six substitutes.

In contrast, Scunthorpe started with December’s League 2 player of the month, Deon Burton, on the bench as they looked to extend their nine-match unbeaten run.

Although the Dons battled for every ball, they were indebted to another fine performance from Ross Worner, who had been beaten by Burton to that player of the month award after being in the group initially nominated.

Despite this, the Dons had a number of early half-chances, with Charlie Wyke having a comparatively tame shot held by Sam Slocombe and then seeing his header just wide.

Worner was then centre stage, denying Sam Winnall three times in the first-half as the home side sought to take the lead.

Early in the second period Worner was in action to palm away Eddie Nolan’s attempted cross before it drifted under his bar, and was then relieved to see Dave Syers shoot over after being set up by Winnall.

Wimbledon were slowly being forced deeper as the home side pressed forward, and Worner again denied Winnall, producing superb reactions to deny the Scunthorpe man after good work by Syers.

The introduction of substitutes Kevin Sainte-Luce and Chris Arthur did briefly alter the tide, with Arthur being denied just before he could release his shot, but overall this was a point that was well won by the Dons as they were almost constantly on the back foot.

The Dons will be hoping to retain their defensive solidity while adding more of an attacking threat as they host first Exeter City (Saturday 25 January) and Hartlepool (Tuesday 28 January) in coming days.

Scunthorpe: Slocombe, Ribeiro, Nolan, McAllister (Collins 79), Mirfin, Canavan, Hawkridge, Syers, Winnall (Burton 66), Hayes (Madden 65), Williams. Subs not used: Severn, Waterfall, Adelakun, McSheffrey.

Booked: Ribeiro 52.

Wimbledon: Worner, Fuller, Kennedy, Frampton (Morris 11), Bennett, Antwi, Pell, S. Moore, Wyke (Sainte-Luce 65), Midson, Francomb (Arthur 65). Subs not used: L. Moore, Sheringham, Brown.

Booked: Francomb 60.

Att: 4,326.

By Rob Crane

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January 19, 2014