THE DONS surrendered two more precious points to another of the division?s strugglers as Worthing?s battle against the drop received a timely shot in the arm.
Danny Bloor?s relegation-threatened Rebels returned to the south coast with a valuable draw thanks to an uncharacteristic second-half slip from defender Antony Howard.
The Wimbledon man?s slip let in 17-year-old James Fraser to fire past impressive debutant Clark Masters ? wiping out Wes Daly?s 11th minute opener for the home side.
The only consolation came with news that many of our title rivals had also faltered and that Dave Anderson?s team had moved level on points with leaders Chelmsford City. But closing the gap on the Clarets couldn?t mask another disappointing result and performance a week on from the defeat at Hendon.
Wimbledon have already kissed goodbye to valuable points at Slough and at Walton this term ? and in January they were denied maximum return after an injury-time leveler at Woodside Road.
The man that scored that goal, record appearance holder Mark Knee, was suspended for this game. And in fairness, Worthing were there for the taking and should have been put to the sword long before a typical against-the-run-of-play equaliser midway through the second half.
Wimbledon?s start was productive and adventurous and it didn?t take long for the lead to be established. Wes Daly it was with the goal, a skimming 20-yard drive following good work down the left from Michael Haswell seemingly opened the floodgates ? the away team?s defence looked shaky and more goals were expected.
Rebels goalkeeper Rikki Banks should have kept out Daly?s attempt but he was to become his team?s hero before long thanks to some second-half heroics between the posts.
Had Haswell?s free-kick, five minutes after Daly?s opener, crept out of Banks? reach then that might have been enough. Instead, after looking so comfortable, a sluggish struggle set in.
Out of nowhere, the away side ? who have shipped the most goals aside from Slough Town ? suddenly grew in confidence as half-time approached.
Danny Davis was first to check Masters? concentration levels after 37 minutes as a spectator, then the on-loan Brentford stopper was brave to deny much-travelled Omari Coleman a minute before the whistle after racing off his line.
But when Worthing defender Stuart Axten was adjudged to have handled Jermaine Darlington?s shot inside the area it gave Roscoe Dsane the chance to clinch a breathing space. However, his underhit spot-kick was gathered well by Banks and the Dons were soon to pay the penalty.
With Howard caught in no-man?s land, teenager Fraser was quickest to react with the goal at his mercy. A calm finish to stroke the ball past Masters had Bloor?s side level despite them being dominated.
Wimbledon set about breaking down Worthing?s rear-guard for a second time but were prevented by a mixture of poor finishing, bad fortune and outstanding goalkeeping.
Banks was called into action almost as soon as his side found parity. Howard went up to the other end looking to make amends for his error ? he dug the ball free of a forest of feet and supplied Haswell, whose shot was clawed to safety by Banks, agonisingly out of the loitering Dsane?s reach.
The Dons' reaction to letting the lead slip was encouraging. Substitute Steve Wales? deep cross was the next to cause panic and Dsane?s header was flicked on by Steve Butler but wide.
It certainly wasn?t for the want of trying and the hosts continued to pepper the Rebels? goal. Luke Garrard?s tidy cross to Dsane may not have received the cleanest of connections but Banks more than made up for his 11th minute error with a fine reaction save to preserve the point Worthing?s battle against relegation so desperately needed.
Lewis Cook?s late wayward free-kick after Wales was upended summed up the frustration as another of the league?s strugglers came away with something to show from their date with the Dons.