Ipswich Town 0-0 AFC Wimbledon - Half-Time
Saturday, 24th Apr 2021 15:58
Dai Cornell saved a Joe Pigott penalty to prevent AFC Wimbledon from taking the lead, keeping the scoreline 0-0 at the break.
Cornell and Oli Hawkins were handed their first starts under Paul Cook and Teddy Bishop returned to the XI.
Cornell replaced Tomas Holy in goal, while Hawkins, who had made three sub appearances since the change of manager, was the lone striker with Bishop, who missed Tuesday's 3-0 defeat at Northampton as he was ill, behind him in the number 10 role.
The Blues were otherwise unchanged from the team which lost to the Cobblers with left-back Stephen Ward again skipper with Luke Chambers on the bench.
Holy and Kayden Jackson, who started at Sixfields, were among the substitutes, while Freddie Sears dropped out of the squad.
For Wimbledon, Ryan Longman replaced the injured Ollie Palmer up front, while ex-Blues youngster Shane McLoughlin was on the bench.
Ahead of kick-off both teams and the officials took a knee in support of Black Lives Matter with the visitors, in form having won their last four, starting the stronger.
On four, Luke O’Neill crossed and Will Nightingale, the scorer of the Dons’ first goal in their 3-0 victory over the Blues earlier in the month, headed over.
The Londoners continued to have the better of it and on 10, George Dobson was teed-up just outside the area but his powerful, seemingly goal-bound shot was charged down by Luke Woolfenden.
From the resultant corner on the left, the ball fell loose to Jack Rudoni and this time it was Mark McGuinness who got his body in the way to block.
Town finally began to show something and on 11 they won their first corner, however, it came to nothing.
A minute later there was a big scare when McGuinness and Cornell miscommunicated with the keeper on the edge of his area and Dobson almost seized on a loose ball until the on-loan Arsenal defender managed to get back on it and clear the danger.
Keanan Bennetts struck Town’s first effort of the game on the quarter-hour, taking the ball into the area on the right from Hawkins’s flick but his low side-footed effort went well wide.
Wimbledon continued to look the most dangerous side with an Ayoub Assal shot blocked on 16 before the visitors had an even better opportunity.
After Gwion Edwards had lost possession on halfway, skipper Alex Woodyard cut inside from the right to Rudoni in space just inside the box but the midfielder shot wide when it seemed easier to hit the target. On 20 Cornell saved O’Neill’s strike from the right.
Town Town goal had been living a charmed life and in the 21st minute the Blues had keeper Cornell to thank for the scores remaining level after Wimbledon were awarded a penalty.
The ball had fallen for Pigott in the area but as the striker worked himself to shoot, he was pulled back by one of several defenders around him and referee Ollie Yates pointed straight to the spot. Skipper Ward protested in a less than convincing manner.
Pigott took the kick himself but Cornell with his leg as he dived to his right, then got back across to stop the striker’s subsequent effort as McGuinness did as much as he could to make it difficult for the Wimbledon man to get to the ball.
Town, who had made very little headway all half, moved Bishop out wide and Bennetts into the centre to the left of Hawkins, then on 34 Edwards shot well over from distance.
In the 40th minute Pigott broke into the area to the left and was charging towards goal but Ward came across to slam the ball out of play before the striker was able to get in his shot.
A minute before the end of the half, Edwards was shown the game’s first yellow card for a late tackle on Nesta Guinness-Walker.
The Blues could count themselves very fortunate to go in level at the break with the shot count of Wimbledon 12, four on target, Town three, none on target, giving an accurate summary of the period.
While the penalty was obviously the best of the opportunities, the visitors had a number of other chances which they will feel they should have taken.
The lacklustre Blues had almost entirely been on the back foot with Bennetts’s shot their only real chance. The goal drought now stretches to 574, only 26 minutes short of 10 hours without finding the net.
That the scoreline remained level was pretty much the only positive to take from the first half.
Town: Cornell, Vincent-Young, Woolfenden, McGuinness, Ward (c), Dozzell, Downes, Bennetts, Edwards, Bishop, Hawkins. Subs: Holy, Chambers, Skuse, Dobra, Nsiala, Drinan, Jackson.
AFC Wimbledon: Tzanev, O'Neill, Woodyard (c), Nightingale, Rudoni, Assal, Guinness-Walker, Heneghan, Dobson, Longman, Pigott. Subs: Cox, Alexander, Oksanen, McLoughlin, Harrison, Kalambayi, Osew. Referee: Ollie Yates (Staffordshire).
Photo: Matchday Images
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