AFC Wimbledon 2 Doncaster Rovers 1: Rovers throwaway lead in second half slump

Donervon Daniels conceded his third penalty in four matches as Doncaster Rovers threw away the lead to lose at AFC Wimbledon.

Saturday, 14th December 2019, 2:42 pm
Updated Saturday, 14th December 2019, 6:09 pm
Donervon Daniels

Rovers dominated the first half and took a deserved lead into the break through Kwame Thomas’ header.

But they failed to match their efforts in the second half and were picked off by the renewed hosts.

Daniels jumped into a challenge he was never likely to win, giving Marcus Forss the perfect opportunity to level from the spot.

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And Callum Reilly completed the turnaround with a breakaway goal 20 minutes from time.

It means Rovers have failed to win in the league in their last four attempts and won just one in nine in all competitions.

Darren Moore made one change to the side that drew with MK Dons the previous week with Thomas starting in place of Alfie May. Niall Ennis and Jon Taylor both returned to the bench.

And Moore’s side made a strong start to the game, showing plenty of energy as they moved the ball quickly and found space deep in opposition territory.

Inside the first minute the ball moved through several players quickly on an attack from half way until Kieran Sadlier hooked a shot which Wimbledon keeper Nathan Trott saved comfortably.

Trott was called into action again moments later when Ben Whiteman powered through a couple of challenges and stabbed on goal from close range.

Sadlier curled well wide while Rakish Bingham drew a fine save from Trott from distance as Rovers continued their impressive start to the game.

And on 12 minutes they made it count. Reece James curled a dangerous corner under the bar where Thomas wrestled himself free to head home.

Rovers threatened to add to the score as Sadlier smashed a free kick from 30 yards which Trott claimed at the second attempt.

But the hosts forced themselves into the game and began to look dangerous.

Rod McDonald brought down a deep corner and fired over the bar before Terell Thomas flicked a header wide from another dead ball.

Rovers regained control of play and they finished the half strongly, dominating possession and keeping it deep in Wimbledon territory.

After a sustained spell on the ball Whiteman swiped a volley wide from the edge of the box.

And Ben Sheaf should have doubled the advantage on the stroke of half time after being touched through by Sadlier but he hesitated over his shot and drew a comfortable save from Trott.

The control would not last as a much more subdued Rovers emerged for the second half.

They struggled to keep the ball for long periods as they revitalised hosts pushed forward with real threat.

And on 56 minutes they gifted the hosts the equaliser. Daniels jumped into a challenge inside the box and wiped out his man for a blatant penalty which Forss slammed home.

If one side looked like edging ahead, it was the hosts who attacked with real pace and pressure while Rovers struggled to get going again.

The turnaround was completed on 70 minutes with a breakaway from a Rovers corner.

Forss wrestled his way past Brad Halliday onto a clearance and touched a pass inside to Reilly who slotted beyond Seny Dieng to put the hosts in front.

Rovers really should have been level four minutes later. James drilled a low ball into the box which substitute Jon Taylor ran on to but placed wide of the far post.

But Wimbledon were increasingly compact, flooding their own half with bodies and presenting Rovers with a blue brick wall they struggled to find a way around.

It saw Rovers enjoy plenty of possession but fashion little threat with it, even after to switching to a 3-5-2 system with the late introduction of Ennis.

Coppinger blasted across goal from a really good position as full time approached but the comeback was not to be for Rovers, who will count the cost of failing to put the game to bed in the first half.

WIMBLEDON: Trott; O'Neill, Thomas, McDonald, Osew (Guinness-Walker 61); McLoughlin, Pinnock (Rudoni 61), Sanders, Reilly; Forss (Hartigan 86), Pigott. Subs: McDonnell, Delaney, Robinson, Biler.

ROVERS: Dieng; Halliday, Daniels, John, James (Ennis 85); Sheaf, Whiteman; Bingham (Taylor 62), Coppinger, Sadier; Thomas. Subs: Jones, Wright, Gomes, Watters, May.

REFEREE: Nick Kinseley (Essex)

ATTENDANCE: 4,311 (414 away)