Last Gasp Bennett Rescues Dons

Wimbledon 1 v Accrington 1

Alan Bennett’s late equaliser spared Wimbledon a third-successive defeat against low-lying opposition as they drew 1-1 with Accrington Stanley on Saturday (12 October).

The Dons again struggled to break down a dogged defence, despite playing half the match against ten men after Stanley’s goalscorer Kayode Odejayi was sent off on the stroke of half-time for an off-the-ball incident.

And it took skipper Bennett to salvage a point and deny Accrington their first win of the season as he rose to head home Barry Fuller’s cross from the right with just four minutes remaining.

It was a barely deserved point for the home side who had huffed and puffed but produced little in the way of incisive football, often reduced to playing the ball square across the midfield rather than seeking out more positive outcomes.

Accrington had the better of the game overall and took the lead in the 17th minute when a corner was missed by the Wimbledon defence giving Odejayi a comparatively straightforward header beyond Ross Worner to but the visitors 1-0 up.

The visitors continued to push forward against their demoralised hosts, with Michael Richards’ shot from the edge of the D drawing an acrobatic response from Worner who palmed it away from the top-left corner that it seemed destined to reach.

Odejayi was involved again when he headed down Nicky Hunt’s long ball forward and, with Rhys Weston napping, Peter Murphy nipped in to beat Worner but see the ball roll narrowly wide.

Next up for the visitors was Lee Naylor, whose free-kick over the wall was turned behind by Worner low at his near post, good goalkeeping that was mysteriously unrecognised by referee Gary Sutton who awarded a goal kick.

The closest that the Dons came in the first half was just before the break when Callum Kennedy’s inswinging corner evaded everyone but drifted just wide of the far post.

Even Odejayi’s sending off on the stroke of half time following a post-challenge tussle with Jack Midson failed to spark much life into Wimbledon, although the opportunities did start coming.

Midson was the first to have an attempt, Weston heading Kennedy’s cross back into the middle where Midson connected only to see Accrington keeper Marcus Bettinelli block his shot.

Substitute Chris Arthur was introduced midway through the half and started attempting to capitalise on space down the left flank, and it was from his cross that Harry Pell headed just off target.

And Arthur was involved again, capping a typical rampaging run with a pull back to Luke Moore whose shot was blocked by Bettinelli’s legs.

Just as it looked like being ‘one of those days’ for the Dons, Bennett popped up to salvage what had seemed an unlikely point, heading home Fuller’s cross from level with the penalty spot.

Dons boss Neal Ardley will be hoping for a more lively performance when they visit Morecambe on Saturday (19 October).

Wimbledon: Worner, Fuller, Bennett, Weston, Kennedy (Arthur 58), Porter, Pell, S. Moore, L. Moore, Smith, Midson (Sainte-Luce 74). Subs not used: Sweeney, Francomb, Fenlon, Brown, Fayers.

Goalscorer: Bennett 86.

Booked: L. Moore 29, Midson 45, Weston 57.

Accrington: Bettinelli, Hunt, Atkinson (Winnard 16), Aldred, Naylor, Mingoia (Hatfield 90), Joyce, Murphy, Caton (Carver 49), Richardson, Odejayi. Subs not used: Dunbavin, Webber, Naismith, Miller.

Goalscorer: Odejayi 17.

Booked: Joyce 64, Bettinelli 90.

Sent off: Odejayi 45.

Attendance: 4,585

By Rob Crane

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October 16, 2013