Unlucky Dons Draw A Blank

Wimbledon 0 v Bristol Rovers 0

Wimbledon endured a frustrating afternoon on Saturday (5 April) as they dominated this encounter against Bristol Rovers but failed to make the breakthrough, with the game ending in a 0-0 draw that didn’t reflect the balance of play.

The Dons had been forced to reshuffle their midfield pack, with Michael Collins recalled to Scunthorpe and Sammy Moore suspended, but that didn’t seem to disrupt the side as the Dons produced an encouraging display, with striker Kwesi Appiah catching the eye on his full debut.

Despite bossing the game, it wasn’t until late in the first half that the Dons started creating genuinely dangerous threats on the Rovers goal.

Appiah looked poised for his first goal in Dons colours when he was the target of a an excellent George Francomb cross, but Tom Lockyer did well to intercept and head the ball over for a corner.

And just before the break Jack Midson should have done better after latching on to a long Pell pass over the top of the Rovers defence. Midson was clipped as he took the ball round Rovers keeper Steve Mildenhall but opted to stay on his feet, only to squander the opportunity by trying to shift the ball back onto his right foot before shooting. With Rovers flooding back, Midson’s eventual shot was straight at Mildenhall and deflected over.

But there was still time for Appiah to go close again, with a strong drive that was only just off target as the Dons ended the first period on a high.

The tempo continued after the interval, with Midson latching on to a poor Rovers pass and weaving his way to the edge of the box before unleashing a shot that Mildenhall did well to tip over.

The Dons did have one scare when Matt Harrold charged into the box before tumbling under a shoulder charge from Darren Jones, but claims for a penalty by Rovers were waved away by the referee.

And Wimbledon were soon back on the front foot, with substitute Danny Hylton setting up another Midson chance that Mildenhall did well to turn aside, with the loose ball rolling agonisingly out of reach for Kevin Sainte-Luce before Francomb’s drive was blocked by a lunging Rovers defender.

Afterwards, Dons boss Neal Ardley told BBC London 94.9: ‘I’m disappointed we didn’t win the game as I thought we were the better team. We work hard at being an attacking team and today we had 33 crosses and 15 attempts [on goal]. You’d like to think one of those would go in.’

The Dons will do well to replicate their form from this match when they travel to Southend United this Saturday (12 April) before a busy Easter period with games against Newport County (at Kingsmeadow on Good Friday) and Plymouth Argyle (away on bank holiday Monday).

Wimbledon: Worner, Fuller, Richards, Morris, Antwi, Jones, Francomb, Pell, Midson (Wyke 86), Appiah (Hylton 66), Sweeney (Sainte-Luce 66). Subs not used: L. Moore, Arthur, Brown, Nicholson.

Bristol Rovers: Mildenhall, Smith, Brown, McChrystal, Parkes, Lockyer (Santos 45), Clarke, Clucas (Gillespie 57), Mohamed, Harrold, O’Toole. Subs not used: Clarkson, Harrison, Beardsley, Gough, Keary.

Booked: McChrystal 72.

Att: 4,322.

By Rob Crane

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April 5, 2014