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Blues take a point from Dons trip
AFC Wimbledon 2, Wycombe Wanderers 2.
SUPERSUB Matt McClure snatched an equaliser as Wanderers survived a Wimbledon onslaught to claim a draw.
Despite taking the lead through Jo Kuffour’s second goal in two games Wanderers were on the back foot for much of their trip to Kingsmeadow, as Wimbledon hit back to take a half time lead.
And McClure punished the Dons for failing to take their numerous chances, showing their struggling opponents where the goal is with an impressive late leveller.
Paul McCallum looked to have won the game for Wimbledon as the West Ham loanee bagged a brace and led the Blues defence a merry dance throughout.
The visitors were also indebted to their goalkeeper Jordan Archer for two superb saves to keep them in it, paving the way for McClure to steal the headlines with his equalising strike.
The tone of the game had looked unlikely in the opening stages as Blues settled well and went in front through something of a trademark they have developed under Gareth Ainsworth, an early goal.
Dean Morgan picked Jonathan Meades’ pocket before powering his way down the line and crossing low for Kuffour. With his back to goal the striker produced a sublime turn to buy himself room for a shot, which went into the net via deflections off a defender and the far post for a tenth minute lead.
Whilst Wanderers have one of the best records in the country at scoring inside the first 15 minutes, they have also developed a habit of conceding from corners and the Dons drew level again by taking advantage of Blues’ slackness at set pieces shortly after going behind.
McCallum won the corner after turning his way past Kortney Hause, with the defender initially doing well to block his shot from a wide angle. When the corner came in however it was flicked down and on at the near post to McCallum’s feet for the striker to rifle home his third goal in successive games.
Blues almost took the lead again within minutes of parity being restored but Kuffour scuffed his shot at veteran goalkeeper Neil Sullivan with a finish that belied the confidence of a man who’d scored twice in two games.
Chances were at something of a premium despite some intense pressure from the home side and Wanderers keeper Archer just about got his fingertips to McCallum’s fierce close range effort to touch it onto the bar and away from trouble
Blues had to weather something of a storm but the hosts weren’t able to create many openings and had to rely on a Wanderers mistake for a sight of goal. A tame through ball looked easy enough for one of Archer or Hause to clear but both players dithered and let McCallum get there first, with the striker firing into the side netting with the goal gaping.
It was a huge let off for Wanderers but a minute later McCallum had made amends as he fired the Dons into the lead. Stacy Long managed to keep possession despite a stumble and played it into McCallum’s feet, before the striker spun quickly and thumped the ball into the bottom corner past a despairing Archer.
Half chances fell Joel Grant’s way as he miscued wide from Josh Scowen’s free kick before firing across the face of goal and out, as the players went in at the break with fans sensing Ainsworth had to produce another big team talk to fire the players up for the second half.
But it was the Dons who came out fired up after the break and McCallum almost completed a hat trick when his header from point blank range was somehow batted away by Archer for another impressive save by the Scotland U21 international.
Dangerman McCallum then headed at Archer as Wanderers struggled to deal with Peter Sweeney’s deflected free kick, and it was starting to become a question of when rather than if the struggling Wombles would add to their total.
From a rare Wycombe attack Wimbledon broke swiftly and Meades had his near post effort smothered by Archer and Dave Winfield blocked Jack Midson’s path to goal as the score somehow continued to remain 2-1.
Ainsworth made a double substitution in a bid to turn his side’s flagging fortunes around, with McClure and Bruno Andrade replacing Kuffour and Grant.
It paid almost instant dividends as McClure made sure Wimbledon paid the price for those missed chances as he drew Wanderers level. The Dons struggled to clear Winfield’s header from Scowen’s clever free kick and the ball dropped to Blues’ top scorer lurking on the edge of the box, and he crisply fired home his eighth of the season.
That sparked Wimbledon back into life and Toby Ajala blazed woefully off target from close range when substitute Byron Harrison – on for McCallum, to the relief of Wanderers – caused havoc with a flicked header across goal.
Wanderers: Archer, Harriman, Winfield, Hause, Dunne, Grant (sub Andrade), Scowen, Lewis, Wood, Morgan, Kuffour (sub McClure). Substitutes not used: Harrison, Spring, McCoy, Stewart, Ainsworth.
Attendance: 4,507 (764 from Wycombe)