Wimbledon 2 v Northampton 2
Both teams scored quickfire doubles as Wimbledon were held to a 2-2 draw by Northampton Town on Good Friday (3 April).
After a turgid first hour during which neither side created action of note, the game exploded unexpectedly into life.
First Ross Worner’s speculative free-kick from the halfway line was headed down by Bayo Akinfenwa to Sean Rigg, left alone on the goal line, who could make no mistake from such close quarters and prodded Wimbledon into a 1-0 lead.
And two minutes later it was 2-0, with Akinfenwa again involved. First he set up Craig Tanner for an effort that was blocked but, when the Northampton defence cleared the ball straight back to him, Akinfenwa calmly rolled it to the edge of the box where Jake Reeves fired it home to make it 2-0.
Just seconds later it could have been 3-0 as Tanner unleashed a spectacular scissor-kick effort that Northampton keeper Matt Duke managed to tip onto the bar and over.
But anything that Wimbledon could do, Northampton could do, too. And they did, to puncture Wimbledon’s sudden-found confidence almost as quickly as it had appeared.
First Ricky Holmes wriggled past Ben Harrison and delivered a cross that James Gray fired beyond Worner to make it 2-1
And then three minutes later Gray – who had attracted the ire of Wimbledon fans through his ‘elbows first’ jumping style – got his and Northampton’s second, heading home Brendan Moloney’s free-kick to make it 2-2.
Then, as if exhausted by the sudden exertions, the game slumped back into its previous torpor almost as quickly as it had sprung into life.
‘The first half was dreadful. It was awful,’ Dons boss Neal Ardley told BBC London 94.9 afterwards. ‘They were better than us at being awful in the first half.’ And few would disagree.
The Dons travel to Dagenham & Redbridge on Easter Monday (6 April) before hosting Oxford United at Kingsmeadow on Saturday 11 April.
Wimbledon: Worner, Fuller, Oshilaja, Goodman, Harrison, Beere (Francomb 71), Bulman, Reeves, Rigg (Azeez 82), Tanner, Akinfenwa. Subs not used: Moore, Phillips, McDonnell, Potter, Gallagher.
Goalscorers: Rigg 58, Reeves 60.
Booked: Rigg 50, Reeves 76.
Northampton: Duke, Moloney, Collins, Diamond (Hackett 68), Cresswell, D’Ath (Carter 90), Taylor, Byrom, Holmes, O’Toole (Toney 57), Gray. Subs not used: Horwood, Hornby, Perry, Jalal.
Goalscorer: Gray 66, 69.
Booked: Byrom 23, Diamond 48, Holmes 73.