The Dons kicked off with a Sky-friendly side of Michael Harvey and ten others, with Robert Ursell the man making way on the left wing. Kim Grant lined up alongside Liam George up front and got his first touch within a minute, trying his luck with a speculative shot from 20 yards, only to see it fly wide for a goal kick.
Four minutes in and Windsor showed attacking intent for the first time, with a throw deep in the Dons half causing confusion between Steve Butler and Micky Woolner, before being comfortably cleared by the dons skipper.
And the dons defence was under pressure again two minutes later when a deep clearance up the Royals? right flank was touched on striker Tomlin, leaving butler stranded in no-mans land. Tomlin charged down towards goal, where Sargent had to be at his best to jockey him on the edge of the six-yard box, before the striker?s cross was eventually airkicked by his colleague Baker and cleared by a grateful Wimbledon backline.
Tomlin again proved to be a thorn in the Dons side on 12 minutes, going up for a header with Butler, only for the defender to slip on the muddy Kingsmeadow surface. Tomlin bore down on goal with only Sargent to beat, and with Franie being dragged across to track Baker?s cross field run. Once again, the dons were let off the hook as Tomlin?s tame shot from the edge of the area was easily held by Andy Little.
But the dons weren?t content to sit back, and forced two corners on the spin, the second of which Antony Howard narrowly failed to connect to at the far post.
With the game now lurching from one end to the other, it was the Royals who came clostest to breaking the deadlock, on 20 minutes, when a lopping cross deceived Little and Sargent had to be alert to head off the line under pressure.
And it was actually on the counter that Wimbledon?s next meaningful move came about. Harvey sold Warner two dummies in the middle of his own half before laying off to Daly, who hit a delicately balanced all over the top for Kim Grant to chase onto. Unfortunately, the linesman seemed to be trailing some new fangled offside and the crowd never got to see whether Grant would have actually beat the last man to it.
Undeterred, the dons then launched into their best spell of the half ? with Grant?s hold up play on the edge of the box feeding Butler who, in turn chipped the ball to the far post, only for Carthy to head wide.
Less than a minute later, it was Grant again who was causing the Royal?s backline headaches ? picking up the ball on the edge of the box and firing in a left foot shot that the keeper did well to turn aside for a corner.
The dons next opened up the Royal defence on 37, with good link-up play between Sargent, Grant and Harvey resulting in Harvey bearing down on goal. Sensing Soccer AM glory, his shot made it through a crowd of players but lacked the power to beat keeper Drake.
The Dons suffered a blow on 41 minutes when Dean Brennan went down clutching his leg and had to be replaced. But it was the man who came on in his place, Rob Ursell, who was next to threaten the Windsor backline, beating his man with a trademark drop of the shoulder and feeding Grant, whose goal attempt was blocked.
As the clock wound down, the dons were on top but with nothing to show for their efforts of the first 45.
With less than two minutes of the second period gone, it was Windsor who got the crowd?s pulses racing once again ? hitting the inside of the post with what could best be described as a speculative nudge towards goal. Stunned, the Dons backline cleared and once again worked their way upfield, cheered on by an upbeat crowd of 3,158.
Then on 51 minutes Dave Anderson?s hand was forced once again, as impressive the Kim Grant was forced to leave the field, to be replaced by Dwayne Plummer.
Once again the game lurched into a mid field battle, with neither team able to make inroads in the final third. Again, it was the visitors who came closest, when a hopeful poke forward found Baker on the edge of the box, with his strike being well blocked by Little.
The Dons response was to push on ? with Ursell and Plummer combining down the right, and Urse beginning to display a few of his trademark tricks ? albeit to limited effect. But the pressure was at least beginning to take its toll on the Royal defence, and the dons had a decent handball shout declined on 70, much to the derision of the Tempest End.
But the fans? soon forgot about that as Plummer cxollected the ball on the edge of the box and, dropping his shoulder, twisted the defender inside out before firing a neat shot inside the left post. Cue Helen Chamberlain jumping up nd down in her Dons shirt to a chorus of ?Lovejoy, what?s the score??
However, that joy was short lived as the Royals responded within two minutes, with Tomlinson poking home following a goalmouth scramble.
The next 15 minutes reverted to form, with little real progress being made at either end until, on 85, a whipped in Daly cross from the right found Plummer, whose headed effort shaved the wrong side of the post. As the clock ticked down, there was still time for one more near-miss, and it was Plummer once again who got on the end of a half clearance with a looping header, only to see it headed off the line.
It summed up the Dons? day ? plenty of half chances, but nothing clear cut in a ratherlacklustre game largely played out in the middle of the park.