AFC Wimbledon 1 Southend United 1
Sky Bet League One
Sol Campbell’s Shrimpers are not going down without a fight after salvaging a point in south-west London on Wednesday afternoon.
Southend fell behind to Callum Reilly’s first-half strike, butmsupersub, Charlie Kelman levelled from the penalty spot in second-half stoppage time.
Despite making the early running, with Stephen Humphrys letting fly with a stinging volley and Jason Demetriou acrobatically shooting wide, the hosts gradually took charge.
The early warning signs were obvious as the Blues were starting to defend too deep. On 23 minutes an unchallenged Reilly blasted past a partially unsighted Mark Oxley, with only Elvis Bwomono making a token challenge.
Cutting in from the left, Shrimpers’ wide man, Stephen McLaughlin was unlucky to see his powerful, 28th minute effort float inches wide, before Dons’ Michael Forss soon brought out a smart Oxley block, as the strugglers failed to clear from flag-kick.
At least after the break the travelling supporters urged on their favourites and schemer, Sam Mantom was unlucky to see his 48th minute drive nestle on the top of Nathan Trott’s goal.
But, the unrelenting Dons again nearly doubled their lead, on 51 minutes when Forss brought out a fine, low Oxley save, before the Finn set up co-striker, former Shrimper, Joe Pigott, who headed wastefully wide.
Having withdrawn débutant, Eren Kinali at the interval, his replacement, Isaac Hutchinson started to exploit space and was unlucky to see his 56th minute close range effort blocked.
Wimbledon then proceeded to at least keep Southend in this contest, by virtue of a host of wasted chances, with Forss the chief culprit, blasting wide when well-placed.
They were so nearly punished on 80 minutes when McLaughlin’s curling direct free-kick forced Trott into a fine, sprawling save, with sub Kelman unable to bundle home the loose ball.
And, in a feisty end to the contest at least saw Southend on the front foot, with Hopper lucky to stay on the pitch following a poor foul on Reilly.
In the first minute of stoppage time Kelman drew a foul from Mark Delaney. The American hitman then picked himself up and drilled home from 12 yards.
AFC Wimbledon: Nathan Trott, Luke O’Neill, Terrell Thomas, Ryan Delaney, Nesta Guinness-Walker, Callum Reilly, Max Sanders, Jack Rudoni (Anthony Hartigan 50), Shane McLoughlin, Marcus Forss, Joe Pigott. Subs (not used): Joe McDonnell, Rod McDonald, Mitch Pinnock, Tommy Wood, Huseyin Biler, Paul Osew.
Southend United: Mark Oxley, Eren Kinali (Isaac Hutchinson 46),Elvis Bwomono, Tim Dieng, Rob Kiernan, Stephen McLaughlin, Jason Demetriou (Sam Barratt 90), Sam Mantom, Mark Milligan (capt), Stephen Humphrys (Charlie Kelman 74) Tom Hopper. Subs (not used): Nathan Bishop, Brandon Goodship, Ethan Hamilton, Matt Rush.
Referee: Craig Hicks
Assistants: Andrew Aylott, Martin Desborough
Fourth Official: Louis Marks