Wimbledon 0 v Accrington 0
Wimbledon and Accrington Stanley served up a tepid example of League Two football as they meandered to a goal-less draw on Saturday (5 March), although the result was enough to move the Dons back into the play-off places.
Accrington have confounded all critics this season and went into this encounter sitting in fourth place, while the Dons were on the back of an excellent midweek performance during which they had at times given league leaders Northampton the runaround.
But any expectations of an entertaining match in keeping with the teams’ league positions were confounded.
It wasn’t until the dying moments of the first period that the match produced its first moment of note, as a full-stretch Kelle Roos was called into action to save Sean McConville’s free-kick.
But there was more action minutes later as Accrington striker Billy Kee dispatched the ball into the back of the net, only for referee Trevor Kettle to deem that an inappropriately exciting end to the torpor and blow for half-time as the shot was in flight, prompting furious protests from the visitors.
Things failed to get much more entertaining in the second period and the Dons also lost George Francomb to injury following an Accrington foul that prompted nothing more than a drop ball.
Even switching to three up front, with Bayo Akinfenwa coming on to partner Sean Rigg and Lyle Taylor in attack, failed to spark Wimbledon into much life. But they finally got their first effort close to target in the 79th minute when Connor Smith saw an effort deflected onto the post following a Jake Reeves corner.
And the Dons were on target again in the 87th minute as Taylor latched on to Paul Robinson’s pass, but as he lofted the ball over advancing Accrington keeper Ross Etheridge the custodian handled the ball outside the box, denying the Dons a winner at the expense of a red card.
Wimbledon keeper Kelle Roos told the club’s official website: ‘It was not a great game to watch and we had to dig in. We worked hard and they did not have many chances.
‘We had a chance near the end when their keeper was sent off but it was a little bit too late for us and we ran out of time.
‘We’ve had tough games lately. Against Oxford we did not get what we deserved, but against Northampton we earned a draw and today we dragged a point out of it.
‘It’s important that we are hard to beat against the top teams and if we can keep winning against the lower teams at the end of this season we will be fine.’
This point was enough to see the Dons jump ahead of Leyton Orient and into the final play-off spot on goal difference. They face a tough test when they travel to Bristol Rovers on Tuesday (8 March) before following that up with a trip to Morecambe (12 March).
Wimbledon: Roos, Fuller, Robinson, Sweeney, Meades, Francomb (Rigg 57), Reeves, Smith, Barcham (Bulman 70), Elliott (Akinfenwa 70), Taylor. Subs not used: Shea, Kennedy, Azeez, Fitzpatrick.
Booked: Elliott 62, Meades 83, Fuller 97, Sweeney 98.
Accrington: Etheridge, Wakefield, Pearson, Davies, Halliday, Mingoia, Crooks, Conneely, McConville, McCartan (Mooney 90), Kee. Subs not used: Proctor, Brown, Carver, Hughes, Boco, Shaw.
Booked: McConville 81, Crooks 98.
Sent off: Etheridge 87.