BY LAURENCE LOWNE AT THE CHERRY RED RECORDS STADIUM
For the third consecutive Saturday match in a row, AFC Wimbledon supporters watched a wind-dominated game.
It was the Dons who had the wind behind them in the first half, but they failed to maximise their opportunity.
Blackpool piled on the pressure in the second period although the hosts finished strongly as Adam Roscrow made an impact.
Callum Reilly was back in midfield after sitting out the midweek thumping at Oxford and provides some solidity and shape to the side. He is more than happy to go in where it hurts.
Reilly picked up a knock making a blocked tackle and needed lengthy treatment. That stoppage probably accounted for the flatness that resulted.
Earlier Anthony Hartigan had shot from outside the box, which visiting keeper Chris Maxwell safely dealt with.
There had been a sequence of corners, the last of which Kwesi Appiah headed wide. Then in the 14 minute Luke O’Neill swung in a lovely cross and Appiah connected but, with the goal at his mercy, it cleared the crossbar.
The lively Jack Rudoni was once again having an impact, and he attempted a shot from 35 yards that was safely dealt with.
Rudoni had more luck with a lovely inswinging corner with the wind behind it and that saw Maxwell rush across goal to clear for another corner.
Do not feel for one second that this was all Wimbledon, since Blackpool had two deflected chances, but they showed why they had not won away for an awful long time, let alone scored a goal.
They were better in the second half with the wind in support.
They had their own corner, which was cleared by frantic defenders, but they really did not look like netting, even when Taylor Moore was left with the goal at his mercy 10 yards out and ballooned his shot over the bar just before the hour mark.
It took until the 70th minute for the Dons to rouse themselves. Once again forcing a corner, and seeing a deflected shot cleared away from Adam Roscrow.
His introduction, replacing Appiah, brought some pace to the frontline which had been lacking.
Soon Joe Pigott played Roscrow in and he advanced into the penalty box and drew a super save with a full-bloodied shot in the 84th minute. A couple of minutes later a deep cross found Shane McLouglin, his shot was saved and went for a corner.
A short corner routine saw Paul Osew swing in a cross with some speed, and it was fumbled away by keeper Maxwell at the second attempt and fell for another corner.
That was cleared by a defender, and Pigott was fouled as he attempted to move in on goal.
O’Neill then tried a shot from the resultant free-kick, which the keeper did well to block.
There had been thirteen minutes of Roscrow creating space for others with his pace and running, taking a couple of chances himself and showed Dons fans a lot of what has been missing.
Many will hope this will be the opportunity for him to become the striker the side so desperately needs.
Another positive was a clean sheet for Joe Day, and it made some amends for the 5-0 loss at Oxford United a week ago. It is worth noting he was not at fault for any of the goals conceded, and he is settling in well to the team.
Wimbledon’s League One destiny is now safely in the team’s own hands with key games arising soon. Bolton and Tranmere, in particular, are fixtures of real significance – but before that Gillingham away on Saturday needs to be navigated.
AFC Wimbledon (3-5-2): Day 7, O’Neill 8, Thomas 7 (McDonald 88), Sorensen 6, Osew 6, Wagstaff 7, Hartigan 7, Rudoni 8, Reilly 7 (McLoughlin 77), Appiah 6 (Roscrow 65, 7), Pigott 7. Not used: Trott, Pinnock, Lamy, Guinness-Walker.
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