Wimbledon 2 v Tranmere 2
Adebayo Akinfenwa’s eighth goal in nine games wasn’t enough to earn victory for Wimbledon as they drew 2-2 against struggling Tranmere last week (25 October).
The striker added to his impressive recent tally with an emphatic header moments from half-time to put the Dons ahead in this match for the second time.
But both times the visitors struck back to ensure a point that took them off the bottom of the table.
‘We’re disappointed that we let the lead slip and that we didn’t really get going again in the second half,’ mused boss Neal Ardley on the club’s official website afterwards.
‘But I think there were a lot of positives to take from it. In the first half some of our play was exceptional, in particular down the flanks.’
It was the flanks that produced the first goal of the match just after the quarter hour, and from an unlikely source. The Dons had started the game at a high tempo, with Sean Rigg posing problems for the Tranmere defence, but it was left-back Jack Smith who opened the scoring.
Whether the former Millwall man meant it as a cross or a delicate chip, either way his ball from near the goal-line left goalkeeper Owain Williams stranded, with a Tranmere defender on the line only able to help it over the line as he attempted to clear.
But just minutes later the visitors were back on equal terms with a goal out of nothing. Armand Gnanduillet found space to turn inside a lunging Dannie Bulman challenge and, from square in front of the goal and despite having three blue shirts in front of him, somehow managed to deceive James Shea with a low bobbling shot that found its way into the corner to make it 1-1.
The Dons continued to push forward and Akinfenwa’s goal was their due reward, coming after a throw-in down the right worked its way to Barry Fuller and his surging run and cross to the far post was gleefully lapped up by Akinfenwa.
But after the break the Dons struggled to adapt as Tranmere switched to a 3-4-3 formation and brought on Kayode Odejayi.
Odejayi had already forced a good save from Shea before Gnanduillet again scored an equaliser. A corner was delivered straight into the danger zone where Gnanduillet’s towering header powered beyond Shea, who couldn’t keep it out despite getting a solid touch to the ball.
Substitute Adebayo Azeez did pose the Tranmere defence some problems with his running into gaps, and he forced a good save from Williams shortly before the full time whistle.
But the visitors continued pumping the ball forward and the Dons had to be resolute to hold on to a point that, before the game started, would have been seen as a disappointment.
Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Barrett, Frampton, Smith, Francomb (Pell 88), Moore, Bulman, Rigg (Kennedy 77), Tubbs (Azeez 72), Akinfenwa. Subs not used: Bennett, Nicholson, McDonnell, Harrison.
Goalscorers: Smith 16, Akinfenwa 44.
Tranmere: Williams, Donacien, Ihiekwe, Holness, Holmes, Kirby (Odejayi 55), Laird, Power, Barker (Ridehalgh 55), Gnanduillet, Johnson (Donnelly 71). Subs not used: Bell-Baggie, Rowe, Brezovan, Thompson.
Goalscorer: Gnanduillet 20, 65.
By Rob Crane
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November 4, 2014