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Saturday 05 November 2011
Npower League 2

AFC Wimbledon    1 - 1    Barnet
Sammy Moore (63)
  (45) Izale McLeod
 Seb Brown 1 Dean Brill 
( 77)  Samuel Hatton 2 Danny Senda 
(sub 46)  Brett Johnson 3 Michael Hector 
( 64)  Sammy Moore 4 Darren Dennehy ( 69) 
 Jamie Stuart 5 Gary Borrowdale 
 Callum McNaughton 6 Sam Deering 
(sub 59)  Rashid Yussuff 7 Mark Hughes 
 Max Porter 8 Clovis Kamdjo 
 Jack Midson 9 Mark Marshall 
 Christian Jolley 10 Ricky Holmes (sub 77) 
(sub 69)  Luke Moore 11 Izale McLeod 
 Ricky Wellard 12 Paul Downing 
 Jack Turner 13 Liam O'Brien 
(sub 46)  James Mulley 14 Mark Byrne 
(sub 59)  Kieran Djilali 15 Charlie Taylor 
(sub 69)  Charles Ademeno 16 Steve Kabba (sub 77) 

Match report

A Sammy Moore strike midway through the second half rescued a point for the Dons after a stuttering display against a determined Barnet side.

If reports were to be believed, Bees boss Lawrie Sanchez was potentially one defeat away from losing his job. Although he would have been rather pleased with the reception he received at The Cherry Red Records Stadium, he would have been even more delighted with the point he took away.

With Terry Brown away on compassionate leave, Stuart Cash and Simon Bassey slightly reshuffled the Dons pack. Luke Moore and Christian Jolley returned to the starting line-up, Chris Bush and Fraser Franks missing out altogether as the home side lined up in their familiar 4𣛩 home formation.

The Dons were 11 points and 11 places better off than the visitors, but for the majority of the first half that gap was far from evident. Barnet very rarely had to do anything particularly decisive to win the ball or find space as the Dons surrendered possession at unnervingly regular intervals, with players dallying and dithering and failing to find their team-mates with what to the untrained eye looked like simple passes.

Although defensively they looked reasonably solid, Sam Hatton, Jamie Stuart, Callum McNaughton and Brett Johnson were getting precious little support from the two wider midfielders, Max Porter and Rashid Yussuff, both of whom looked sluggish in possession and short of ideas. Sammy Moore was having to do the work of three men just to keep Barnet抯 two creative midfielders, Sam Deering and Ricky Holmes, quiet.

It was fortunate for the Dons that top scorer Izale McLeod was not on top form. With nine league goals already this season a total matched only by the Dons own Jack Midson and Crawley抯 Matt Tubbs McLeod seemed the most likely source of goals for Sanchez抯 men, but he spurned four decent opportunities in the first half-hour alone.

Wimbledon were creating very few chances of their own, and Midson was cutting a frustrated figure as Luke Moore and Christian Jolley were making minimal headway, and Barnet抯 central defensive pairing of Michael Hector and Darren Dennehy were having much the better of their battle with the Dons lone striker.

The home side抯 one decent chance of the half came when Brett Johnson抯 deep cross was met by Midson, but the striker couldn抰 keep his effort down. McLeod then had two further efforts on goal, the first as a result of the speedy Mark Marshall抯 bamboozling of Hatton, the second after some more sloppy interplay between the Dons defence and midfield.

A rather drab and uneventful half was drawing to a close when another poor passage of Dons play was punished by McLeod. Jamie Stuart抯 clearing header from a deep cross should have been sufficient, but two players left the ball to each other, and from Danny Senda抯 excellent cross McLeod抯 bullet header from eight yards gave Seb Brown no chance.

The former Milton Keynes striker celebrated by running along the barrier at the Tempest End taunting the home fans, but referee Moss chose not to book the player for inciting the crowd a week after Wycombe Wanderers 15-year-old Jordan Ibe was booked for celebrating his debut goal with his mum. McLeod抯 header was the last touch of the half by a Barnet player: the Dons kicked off, and the half-time whistle blew.

Brett Johnson抯 non-appearance for the second half was cause for concern after he had picked up an ijury after a collision with Seb Brown. With no Bush on the bench, James Mulley, ostensibly a right-sided, right-footed midfield player, now found himself at left-back but at least the former Hayes & Yeading man抯 pace looked set to test Senda.

In the opening third of the second period, the Dons at least looked a little more at the races than they had in the first half, and the introduction of Kieran Djilali for the off-form Yussuff on the hour mark was the spark they, and the home supporters, needed. Despite failing to test former Luton keeper Dean Brill, Wimbledon were now working the ball to feet with a lot more precision, had stopped surrendering possession and had reduced Barnet to hopeful long balls up to McLeod that were dealt with increasing ease by Stuart and McNaughton.

Luke Moore came close to equalising for the Dons when he ghosted in late at the back post, but his volley from a rapidly narrowing angle struck the outside of the post and was hacked clear. Then, with just over an hour gone, Wimbledon levelled the scores with their best move of the afternoon.

Mulley did superbly well to keep a bouncing ball in on the touchline between the two benches, and fed Djilali. The former Palace winger cut inside and found Luke Moore with a perfectly weighted ball, and from Moore抯 equally precise first-time pass into the area, Sammy Moore despatched it into the roof of the net via Brill抯 hip for his first ever Football League goal. The Dons No.15 was booked for taking his shirt off, but it was not hard to understand the midfielder抯 joy after such a difficult year with injuries.

To give Barnet credit, a lesser side could easily have let their heads drop, wondering what was in store for the remaining 27 minutes. But other than a Stuart flick from a near-post corner and a low Midson cross that Hector hacked clear as Jolley waited to pounce, it was the visitors who looked the likelier to score again.

McLeod missed two more golden opportunities, both of which came about through defensive lapses, and Marshall抯 20-yard howitzer, which was emphatically beaten away by Brown, signalled Barnet抯 intent that they were not content with a point. Sanchez sent on former Palace, Sheffield United and Watford striker Steve Kabba with 12 minutes to go as the Bees, puzzlingly in all white rather than their traditionally amber and black looked to secure only their second away win of the season.

Midson, battling hard as ever, looked to be pulled back as he shaped to shoot with five minutes left, but referee Moss signalled that he was the victim of a 揷oming together (at least that what his complicated gesture seemed to indicate). Hector then blocked Djilali抯 20-yard curler before the same player attempted another strike from the same distance, but his effort cleared the Tempest End roof.

A draw, then, and the Dons had their second point from the last five games. Even though they had only finished on level terms with a team half a division lower at the start of play, in the process conceding their 20th home goal of the season in just their ninth home game, it had at least stopped the rot and set them up nicely for two cup games of varying importance in the week ahead.

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