Swindon 0 v Wimbledon 0
Wimbledon failed to beat a lacklustre Swindon Town side on Good Friday as the teams ground out a 0-0 draw at the County Ground.
With James Shea unavailable through sickness, Joe McDonnell was given a rare start in goal, resulting in a call-up to the bench of England Under-17 international Joe Bursik.
What little action McDonnell faced he coped with admirably but Swindon rarely threatened the Dons’ goal despite battling for their League One survival.
“We showed fantastic attitude, effort, endeavour and work-rate, particularly without the ball,” Dons boss Neal Ardley said on Dons Player afterwards.
“But it was really poor decision-making and quality in the final third. When the quality is not quite there, you have to do everything you can to make sure that you stay in the game and take something from it.”
The Dons started with an unfamiliar 4-1-3-2 formation, Dannie Bulman sweeping up behind a central midfield of Jon Meades, Jake Reeves and Tom Soares.
But it was a sluggish start from both sides, with the first chance of mild note coming shortly before the half hour when McDonnell held Jon Obika’s long-range shot.
The Dons soon afterwards threatened when forging a good opening for Tyrone Barnett, who scuffed his shot allowing Lawrence Vigouroux to save comfortably following a cross from George Francomb.
And although the Dons ended the half pushing forward, it was McDonnell who was again called into action to palm away Johnny Goddard’s shot at the expense of a corner.
The second half started with the Dons showing more attacking intend, Reeves producing more runs to support the attackers, and Lyle Taylor soon saw a shot blocked.
At the other end, the Dons were grateful when Paul Robinson bundled over Frankaty Dabo at the expense of merely a yellow card, with Nicky Ajose shooting over from the subsequent free-kick.
Meanwhile Barnett – having one of his more impressive performances in a Wimbledon shirt – produced a turn and shot that was deflected wide.
Swindon’s rally towards the final whistle produced little in terms of goal threat, with McDonnell comfortably gathering an effort from Bradley Barry.
And it was the Dons who had the best chance of the match right on the cusp of full time as Reeves broke clear to latch on to Taylor’s through ball. But the midfielder seemed in two minds whether to shoot or produce a square pass, and his eventual shooting choice was comfortably saved by Vigouroux.
Despite the tepid nature of this encounter, the point helped make the Dons all-but-guaranteed of League One survival.
Swindon: Vigouroux, Barry, Branco, Conroy, Dabo, Ince, C. Thomas, Colkett (Norris 73), Goddard (Gladwin 58), Ajose, Obika. Subs not used: Ormonde-Ottewill, Rodgers, Brophy. Henry, Starkey.
Wimbledon: McDonnell, Meades, Robinson, Charles, Kelly, Francomb (Egan 86), Reeves, Bulman, Soares (Parrett 80), Taylor, Barnett (Barcham 80). Subs not used: Nightingale, Oakley, Fitzpatrick, Bursik.
Booked: Soares 24, Francomb 41, Robinson 50.
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April 15, 2017