BY LAURENCE LOWNE
With Connal Trueman being unwell, Nick Tzanev was given the goalkeeper’s shirt for the first League One match of the season.
There were league debuts for Alex Woodyard, Ethan Chislett and Ryan Longman. On the bench were new signings Daniel Csoka, Cheye Alexander and Jaako Oksanen – along with highly-rated young keeper Matthew Cox.
Wimbledon kicked off and within 21 seconds were one up as Ryan Longman put pressure on the Northampton midfield, skipped past a defender with the ball strode into the penalty box and squared for Joe Pigott, who laid it back to the supporting Ethan Chislett, who neatly shot into the bottom corner.
A great way to announce yourself to supporters, forced to watch on the EFL’s iFollow stream.
Wimbledon continued pushing forwards, but eventually newly-promoted Northampton got back into the game. Some crosses teased, and others tested Tzanev in goal, who caught cleanly, whilst under pressure.
Then a free-kick given away 23 yards out was blasted home by Matt Warburton to make 1-1 in the 19th minute.
A stung Wimbledon were soon back in the ascendancy.
A cross was half cleared and Pigott pounced, laying off to Ryan Longman who shot from outside the box and over the bar.
Then a throw-in on the left-hand side halfway inside the home side’s half saw the ball quickly fed into the box where Pigott found the supporting Nesta Guinness-Walker, who simply stroked home into the bottom corner of the goal for 2-1 in the 23rd minute.
Five minutes later it should have been 3-1. Shane McLoughlin shot over the bar from eight yards, when it looked easier to score.
That missed chance proved costly, as Northampton found a second equaliser after 31 minutes – a long throw and cross, poorly cleared and belted home from the edge of box by Ricky Korboa.
Christopher Missilou placed a brilliant cross on the head of Warburton, who managed to miss the target, when a Northampton lead was beckoning.
The second half was less open, as Cobblers manager Keith Curle tried to stifle the free-flowing Wimbledon side and pin down Longman, Chislett and Alex Woodyard.
An accurate cross by Chislett in the 71st minute picked out Longman at the far post and a defender scrambled across to turn away the shot for a corner.
It was interesting to see Tzanev set up attacks with long throws from his penalty box – they cut out the midfield and set Wimbledon players free on many occasions.
All in all a good day out and a fair result overall, but there will be a sense of disappointment in that the first half domination could have seen Wimbledon in front by a country mile.
This team is full of goals, and cutting out the unforced errors as the team gels will see progress made and points mount up.
Star Man: Ethan Chislett. Made his debut and scored in 20 seconds. A proper box-to-box player in the mould of Oyvind Leonhardsen.
Best moment: Ryan Longman, who was a positive pain for Wimbledon with his constant running and no little skill. He picked out Shane McLoughlin with an exquisite pass to the far post, but McLoughlin was unable to keep his shot down from the edge of the six yard box.
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