Dons push Valiants all the way but have to settle for a solitary point
AFC Wimbledon will be kicking themselves after throwing away a 2-0 advantage against the League Two leaders Port Vale, having to eventually settle for a single point from a 2-2 draw.
Boss Neal Ardley cut a disappointed figure at the final whistle after watching his Dons stun the Valiants through a Jack Midson brace, and then shoot themselves in the foot by gifting the visitors two soft replies.
The second goal will cause particular alarm when the old defensive frailties returned to haunt the back line as Mat Mitchel-King’s under-hit back pass fell to Tom Pope, who rounded Neil Sullivan to score from a tight angle.
For 40 minutes, the Dons held their own against a side with only two defeats on the road.
Jim Fenlon and Peter Sweeney combined to set up Midson with a neat finish from six yards for 1-0, and when Liam Chilvers was adjudged to have fouled Pim Balkestein in the penalty area, Midson converted for his eighth of the season and the Dons’s second with only minutes remaining until half-time.
However, rather than going into the dressing room in a commanding position, Dons keeper Sullivan allowed a long-range effort from Daniel Jones to sneak in – even with a slight deflection Sullivan should have done better.
Immediately after the break, Midson had the ball in the back of Chris Neal’s net only to be ruled offside.
Then calamity struck off the limp boot of Mitchel-King for 2-2, and the impetus would stay with the Valiants to the final whistle.
However, thanks to some frenetic defending and Sullivan’s resolute goalkeeping, Dons held on for a point that, while it extends the unbeaten run to four, it does not lift Ardley’s men out of the bottom two.
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