Scunthorpe Utd 0-0 AFC Wimbledon
After last week's defeat to Torquay, a performance which manager Neal Ardley described as "drivel", the Dons would have to improve significantly to avoid humiliation away at in-form league-leaders Scunthorpe United. The Iron went into this game unbeaten in 9 and have spending big on firepower - reportedly paying Yeovil £300k for striker Madden last week.
Wimbledon's brief was clear, to show more resilience than the capitulation that allowed Torquay to canter to a 2 goal lead. The Dons again lined up in a 5-3-2 formation with the return of Harry Pell the only change. As expected Scunthorpe dominated possession and the Dons defence had to work hard to limit their chances. The loss of Frampton early on, with a suspected dislocated shoulder, was a big blow and it looks like he may be out for some time, which is bad news as the Dons` slips in form often seems to coincide with Framo's absences.
Morris came in and, after a little bit of a nervy start, deputised well at the back. As ever Worner made a number of saves but the Dons also had chances and Moore and the returning Pell performed well in the middle. Perhaps it was the return of Pell that was the difference between this and last week`s performances. Ardley looked to the pace of Arthur and KSL to relieve the pressure for the last 25 minutes but ultimately neither side could break the deadlock.
Neither Midson nor Wyke looked liked getting a goal today and with the exception of the Wycombe game the Dons are in the middle of a goal drought and have failed to score in 6 of their last 8 games. After Michael Smith's return to Charlton, the Dons' joint top-scorers are Pell and centre-back, Frampton who is now out injured. The priority for Ardley in the remainder of the transfer window has got to be securing a goal threat. Interestingly, rumours are circulating online that Charlton may be interested in taking Pell in exchange for Smith. Ardley clearly haven't given up on securing Smith but Pell has been one of the Dons best performers this season and, given that he is on contract until the end of next season, whereas Smith is available for free this summer, I'm not sure this would be such a great move.
So 0-0 it ended and the Dons battled well and become the first team to stop Scunthorpe scoring in a league game since 19th October. A point earned here is a good result and now allows the Dons to look positively toward the next two games at home to Exeter and Hartlepool. These are games against teams in mixed form and sitting in and around them mid-table and the Dons will be looking to put a run of positive results together to put some more points between ourselves and the drop zone.