Joe McDonnell Helps AFC Wimbledon To A Point As They Are Held By Milton Keynes

Milton Keynes 0 v AFC Wimbledon 0

AFC Wimbledon dropped a place in the League One table after being held to a 0-0 draw at fellow strugglers Milton Keynes on Saturday (13 February). In contrast with their early season form, when the Dons were struggling to create chances, as in recent weeks the Dons enjoyed plenty of opportunities but failed to take advantage.

And the Dons were grateful for a handful of good saves from goalkeeper Joe McDonnell, who replaced George Long at short notice due to sickness and helped the Dons avoid an underserved defeat.

Afterwards boss Neal Ardley told the club’s iFollow channel: ‘I thought Joe McDonnell was absolutely foot perfect. He came in and was resilient, he made a couple of great saves, his kicking and handling was excellent, and you cannot ask for any more.’

McDonnell was in early action, denying Conor McGrandles, but it was Wimbledon who held created the better chances throughout the match.

Andy Barcham hit the post with a shot that was scrambled clear by Ethan Ebanks-Landell, and the same player was involved in some neat build-up play that also involved Jimmy Abdou before Lyle Taylor produced a turn and snap shot that went across the goal.

Next it was Cody McDonald involved, firing into the side netting from the edge of the area. The home side were reduced to counterattacks, with McDonnell being alert to turn behind one effort from Robbie Muirhead.

But it was at the other end that the majority of the chances continued to come, with Abdou shooting just off target following a Taylor corner.

Taylor was also involved early in the second half, latching onto a Barcham pass but seeing his shot held by Lee Nicholls in the Milton Keynes goal. Darius Charles also forced Nicholls into action, his header from a deep Taylor free-kick being scrambled behind.

But the best chance came in the closing moments went following some persistent flank play the ball was delivered into the box where Barcham evaded the attentions of his marker and found himself one-on-one with Nicholls. However, the wide midfielder put the ball too close to the keeper and the Dons’ final significant chance was gone.

Wimbledon entertain Blackpool at Kingsmeadow on Saturday 20 January before successive Saturday trips to Yorkshire with visits to Bradford City and Rotherham United.

And Ardley will be hoping to increase his side’s conversion rate in those games through the arrival of striker Joe Pigott, who has signed from National League side Maidstone United.

Milton Keynes: Nicholls, Brittain, Wootton, Ebanks-Landell, Williams, McGrandles (Pawlett 65), Cissé, Gilbey, Muirhead (Nombe 64), Agard (Thomas-Asante 80), Aneke. Subs not used: Upson, Sietsma, Seager, Kasumu.

Booked: Pawlett 75.

Wimbledon: McDonnell, Fuller, Oshilaja, Charles, Francomb (Meades 71), Abdou, Trotter, Soares, Barcham, McDonald (Forrester 76), Taylor. Subs not used: Nightingale, Kaja, Kennedy, Tzanev, Hartigan.

Booked: Charles 62.

Att: 9,504.

By Rob Crane

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January 16, 2018