BY DAVE HUNT-JACKSON
AFC Wimbledon almost assured their League One survival as despite a below-par performance they grabbed a last-gasp equaliser in a 3-3 thriller against Rochdale.
With Rochdale fighting for their League One lives they were never going to make it easy but the Dons hurried and harried them from the off meaning the vast majority of the early exchanges were in the visitors’ half with Jack Rudoni and Nesta Guinness-Walker so nearly creating the opener for Palmer with a quarter of the match gone.
Just as they looked like overwhelming their visitors the Dons went into their shell and after a sustained period of pressure Rochdale grabbed the lead with the softest of goals. A mishit corner rolled through the Wimbledon six-yard box and Jake Beesley simply tapped the ball home to give them an unlikely lead at the break.
Wimbledon so nearly drew level soon after the restart with Luke O’Neill thumping a cross against the bar.
Rochdale doubled their lead on 57 minutes when Gabriel Osho’s header eluded Nik Tzanev and trickled into the Dons net.
With the South Londoners at sixes and sevens it was the two teenage midfielders who quickly halved the deficit as Ayoub Assal’s persistence paid off with his cross headed firmly in by Rudoni.
Just seven minutes after going 2-0 down the Dons were level as Palmer bundled in an equaliser.
That should have set the Dons up to go on a win the game but instead they sat back again and Jimmy Keohane exposed further weakness at a setpiece, heading in following a corner.
Joe Pigott missed his second penalty in two games before sparing his own blushes with a vital 97th-minute strike.
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