|AFC Wimbledon 0 v 0 Ipswich Town|
SkyBet League One
Tuesday, 11th February 2020 Kick-off 19:45
AFC Wimbledon 0-0 Ipswich Town - Match Report
Tuesday, 11th Feb 2020 21:46
Town’s first ever game at Kingsmeadow ended in a frustrating 0-0 draw with AFC Wimbledon. The Blues dominated possession throughout and hit the bar throughout James Norwood in the first half, while a number of better opportunities were spurned in the second.
Josh Earl was handed his full Town debut at left wing-back as the Blues made three changes from the side which lost 1-0 at Sunderland at the weekend for their first ever game at Kingsmeadow against AFC Wimbledon.
The on-loan Preston man, who came on as a sub at the Stadium of Light, replaced Myles Kenlock, who dropped to the bench, while Emyr Huws came into the midfield trio for Jon Nolan, who was also among the subs.
Kayden Jackson was up front alongside James Norwood with Will Keane on the bench.
Skipper Luke Chambers was making his 350th appearance for the club, while former Blue Shane McLoughlin was at right-back for AFC Wimbledon.
Town, wearing their Barcelona-style away kit but with yellow socks so as not to clash with the Dons’ blue and with owner Marcus Evans watching from the directors’ box, started positively, dominating the early possession.
The Blues continued to play keep-ball with the home side making the occasional foray forward but neither team created an opportunity in a stop-start freekick-heavy first 20 minutes.
The game progressed in a similar manner as the 30-minute mark passed with Town still having most of the ball but without being able to break through the Dons sitting back in their half.
On 39 Callum Reilly was shown the game’s first yellow card for a foul on Huws 25 yards out. The Welshman took the freekick himself and his low shot, which might have been destined for the corner of the net, caught a defender on the way through and went out for a corner.
From the resultant corner, Town went close to going in front. Skuse - who was taking all the set pieces - sent the ball in from the left, it was half-cleared to Norwood and the striker crashed it against the underside of the bar from 10 yards.
The ex-Tranmere man had another go as the ball bounced back to him but his second shot was scuffed wide and the danger was eventually cleared with home fans wondering how it had stayed out.
And that was that for a not overly entertaining half in which the Blues dominated the ball but were unable to find a way through the organised Dons happy to sit back.
A set piece always looked the most promising route from which Town would create an opportunity and they were unfortunate Norwood’s strike cannoned off the bar.
The Blues needed to show more guile and up the tempo of their passing in the second half, or perhaps look to go more direct, in order to claim the three points.
The second period began as the first had ended and on 56 Jackson hit a shot on the turn from 12 yards which Rod McDonald deflected wide. From the corner, the ball fell to Norwood at the far post and Wimbledon keeper Joe Day did well to save down to his left with the loose ball somehow falling safely.
A minute later, Norwood hit a 20-yard freekick low into the wall and then crossed behind the goal after the ball had been returned to him on the left.
On 62 Norwood sent Jackson away down the right and the ex-Accrington man cut the ball cross to Flynn Downes who turned the ball against a defender on the edge of the six-yard box.
The ex-Tranmere man had a golden chance to put the Blues ahead in the 67th minute when he picked up a loose Wimbledon pass five yards outside the Dons’ area and took the ball into the area one-on-one with Day. The striker might have played it left to Jackson but tried to chip the keeper, who saved.
Two minutes later, Downes was booked somewhat harshly for a foul, the midfielder’s ninth League One yellow card of the season, then Paul Osew hit Wimbledon’s first shot of the night well over from wide on the left.
As Tomas Holy prepared to take the goal-kick, Town switched Norwood, who will feel he ought to have taken his season’s total to at least 12 goals, with Will Keane, while Wimbledon swapped Reilly for Scott Wagstaff.
The Dons began to show more of an attacking threat with Joe Pigott heading wide from a 76th minute corner.
A minute later, Jackson was sent away on the right behind the Wimbledon backline and cut the ball back. It hit Keane with other players behind him and looped into Day’s arms.
Within seconds, Skuse knocked the ball into the area and Keane hit a brilliant shot on the turn which was flying into the top corner until Day superbly got across to tip it over.
Freddie Sears took over from full debutant Earl on 81, just before Terell Thomas shot wide for the home side.
Luke Woolfenden hit a low effort through to Day but without enough power on 85, then a minute later Wimbledon replaced Max Sanders with Jack Rudoni.
Day did well to push Sears’s 20-yard freekick past the post in the 87th minute, Huws having been fouled.
In the first of three additional minutes, Pigott hit a low shot across the face of goal and wide.
Town were forced to defend a couple of Wimbledon corners in injury time, which they did without a serious concern, before referee Craig Hicks brought a frustrating evening to an end.
The Blues had dominated possession throughout and in the second half certainly had enough chances to have claimed all three points, just as they did in the first half at Sunderland on Saturday.
Norwood will feel he should have taken at least one of his opportunities, while Keane was thwarted by the save of the night from Day, who also made a good stop from Sears.
The Blues remain seventh ahead of back-to-back home games against Burton Albion and Oxford United, who drew 2-2 at the Pirelli Stadium this evening.
AFC Wimbledon: Day, O’Neill, Osew, McDonald, Thomas, Hartigan, Reilly (Wagstaff 70), Sanders (Rudoni 87), Pigott (c), Pinnock, McLoughlin. Unused: Trott, Guinness-Walker, Roscrow, Lamy, Wood.
Town: Holy, Chambers (c), Wilson, Woolfenden, Donacien, Skuse, Downes, Huws, Earl (Sears 81), Norwood (Keane 70), Jackson. Unused: Norris, Nolan, Judge, Dozzell, Kenlock. Referee: Craig Hicks (Surrey). Att: 4,745 (Town: 789).
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