Two towering headers from Danny Kedwell rescued a point for injury ravaged Wimbledon on their first ever visit to The Lamb ground in Tamworth. The north vs. south meeting of last season’s regional Conference winners lived up to is pre match billing as the clash of the champions as both sides contributed to an entertaining game that showed why they had made such a good starts in their respective Blue Square Premier campaigns.
Paul Lorraine’s bruised ribs meant a first start at this level for Alan Inns but the unlucky defender lasted just twelve minutes before he sustained a blow to the head and he eventually had to be withdrawn. Before that the Dons had found themselves a goal down when James Pullen, who had started despite being injured in the warm up, had his attempted clearance charged down by the onrushing Jake Sheridan and could only watch as the ball rebounded into the net.
With Wimbledon forced to regroup by moving Jay Conroy into the centre of the defence and pulling Sam Hatton to right back as midfielder Lewis Taylor replaced Inns the home side held the upper hand. The visitors did have a few long shots and from the best of these Kennedy Adjei hit a post but the Dons found themselves two down before the break. With eight minutes to half time Nick Wright extended the Lambs lead when he rose unchallenged to head past Pullen from a couple of yards.
At the interval Seb Brown came on for Pullen and Steven Gregory also had to be withdrawn to be replaced by Elliott Godfrey. However the Dons emerged with renewed vigour and within a quarter of an hour they had drawn level with two carbon copy goals. In the 49th minute Hatton sent in a wonderful cross from the bye line and Kedwell rose majestically to head the ball into the top corner and just nine minutes later he repeated the trick, this time from Chris Hussey’s corner.
The captain for the day had taken his tally for the season to eight in eight games and the large travelling support showed just what they thought of their hero. Sadly the big centre forward was not able to grab his hat trick as the Dons failed to press on in the last half hour and both sides seemed happy to settle for a point. The visitors did have two half hearted penalty appeals turned down with Godfrey being booked when he was adjudged to have dived after he was blocked in the box.
Terry Brown caught the mood at the end when he commented; “A good advert for the Conference. Both teams came up as Champions and both teams looked like Champions.” The Dons will have been relieved that their midweek game with Wrexham had been postponed allowing them more time to nurse their injured troops back to full fitness before their next game at home to Cambridge United.