Wimbledon 1 v Wycombe 1
Substitute Ade Azeez’s injury-time equaliser claimed a deserved point for the Dons as they draw 1-1 against Wycombe Wanderers at Kingsmeadow on Saturday (21 November).
The point extends Wimbledon’s unbeaten league run to five matches as they linger just outside the play-off places, two points behind Leyton Orient who they play next weekend.
But this was a frustrating, scrappy game played in strong wind against a Wycombe side managed by former Wimbledon legend Gareth Ainsworth, whose side seemed gravitationally challenged throughout and were robust in the challenge.
‘It was a difficult game and it’s always the same against them,’ lamented Dons boss Neal Ardley on the club’s website afterwards.
‘Every time you touch them somebody goes down and that’s disappointing. You end up getting sucked into a game that they are a lot better at than we are.
‘I would not want to watch this game of football every week, but luckily we don’t play like that very often. Today was a tough game in the conditions.’
With the influential Jake Reeves suspended after picking up five bookings, the Dons gave a full debut to midfielder Christian Toonga but he struggled to adapt to the physical nature of the game.
Wimbledon’s main tactic seemed to be the accurate kicking of goalkeeper Ben Wilson, with Sean Rigg and Lyle Taylor both timing their runs to capitalise on Bayo Akinfenwa’s flick-ons.
And the Dons certainly had the better of the early exchanges, with Taylor volleying narrowly over with the goal at his mercy after the Wycombe defence struggled to clear their lines, then striking another effort narrowly wide after surging clear from a long ball.
The only real first-half scare for Ardley’s men came when Wilson darted off his line and into the channels before scuffing his clearance straight to Wycombe’s Luke O’Nien. With the on loan goalkeeper struggling to regain his ground, the Dons breathed a sigh of relief as O’Nien’s effort deflected off Toonga and behind for a corner.
But the visitors had better luck early on in the second period, taking the lead in the 51st minute. The ball bobbled around the Wimbledon box before falling to Jason McCarthy who scrambled it home from close range to give Wycombe a lead they barely deserved.
Although Toonga went close to an immediate response, dragging an effort wide after being set up by a combination of Rigg and Taylor, the Dons struggled to break down a resolute visiting defence.
Even a brave triple substitution just after the hour – with Akinfenwa, Rigg and Toonga all being replaced by Azeez, Tom Elliott and Callum Kennedy – seemed to do little to sharpen the Wimbledon attack.
But the Dons kept knocking at the door and got their reward in injury time when Elliott challenged Wycombe keeper Matt Ingram for the ball and it ran loose to Azeez who promptly blasted home to snatch a point.
Wimbledon entertain strugglers Dagenham & Redbridge at Kingsmeadow on Tuesday (24 November) before next weekend’s derby against Leyton Orient.
Wimbledon: Wilson, Fuller, Robinson, Osborne, Meades, Bulman, Toonga (Kennedy 62), Rigg (Azeez 62), Francomb, Taylor, Akinfenwa (Elliott 63). Subs not used: Beere, Sweeney, McDonnell, Kaja.
Goalscorer: Azeez 90.
Booked: Osborne 27, Taylor 80.
Wycombe: Ingram, Jombati, Stewart, Pierre, Harriman, Wood, McCarthy, O’Nien, Thompson (Kretzschmar 87), Bloomfield, Hayes (Holloway 83). Subs not used: Banton, Richardson, Sellers, Rowe.
Goalscorer: McCarthy 51.
Booked: O’Nien 24, Stewart 89.