Crazy Gang in crazy goal-fest game as Dons draw 4-4 against Plymouth Argyle
By Paul Lagan
at Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium
AFC Wimbledon 4 v Plymouth Argyle 4
Crazy game, world-class goals and chronic defending - but such is life in League one where AFC Wimbledon and Plymouth Argyle fought out an amazing 4-4 draw at the home of QPR.
The visitors took the lead through George Cooper, Dons’ equalised when Joe Piggot got the first of his two, then Conor Grant scored the goal of the match - a wonderful curling shot. Soon after the restart the Dons took control, they levelled through Shane McLoughlin, then took the lead from a Piggot 25-yard free-kick.
But that wasn't the end of the action, as Ryan Longman chipped the goalkeeper Mike Cooper to make it apparently safe at 4-2 for the Dons.
Then the home side’s defence collapsed in the space of two minutes when substitutes Niall Canavan’s glancing header gave the Greens a life-line before second substitute Dominic Telford struck the leveller to make it 4-4 on 77 minutes.
A diving header on 90 minutes from Byron Moore almost gave the visitors the three points, but it was not to be.
Ryan Hardie had the first chance of the game, the West Country outfit saw the ball sliced in from the left by Grant and Hardie’s glancing header inched over Connah Trueman’s crossbar.
There was plenty of endeavour with little real class until the 16th minute saw a short corner by George Copper that was not cleared.
He collected the ball again and produced a wonderful curler of a left footer that sailed over goalkeeper Connah Trueman and plonked into the far corner of the net to give the away side the lead.
But the lead lasted only seconds as the Dons immediately penetrated the Green’s rearguard and Joe Piggot was on the spot from six yards out to easily slot home the equaliser.
Alex Woodyard had a great chance to restore the lead on 30 minutes, but his unchallenged shot inside the Dons’ penalty area was blocked.
Woodyard was the first player in Trevor Kettle’s little black book, when the midfielder for the Dons, was late in his challenge on Lewis Macleod and almost sliced his leg in half. It was a yellow, but if VAR was in operation, a red could easily have been awarded.
Frank Nouble forced a fine save from Trueman, three minutes from the break, the stopper parried away a fierce angled right-footer from just inside the Dons’ area.
But with two minutes left, Conor Grant on the right, spotted a chance and launched a sublime, thunderous left-footed curler that smashed into the top right-hand corner of Trueman’s net. An unstoppable worldie that put Argyle - 2-1 up.
The were no changes at half time, but within 60 seconds a goal could have been scored by both sides, first up was a long-range effort by Piggot saved by Copper, then Hardie saw a neat curler inch wide of Trueman’s right post.
But it was the home side who took their chance and Shane McLoughlin volleyed home from close range to zip the ball past a hapless Cooper.
Argyle responded well and Joe Edwards put in an inch-perfect right wing cross and Hardie was first to react but his goal-bound half-volley was nicked away for a corner on 55 minutes.
A sharpe counterattack two minutes later saw Ryan Longman produce an angled daisy-cutter that flew across Cooper’s path but just wide of his right upright.
On the hour mark Piggot was upended just outside the Argyle area.
He opted to take the free-kick and struck a sensational shot over the wall and the ball arrowed past Cooper to give the home side a 3-2 lead.
How Piggot missed a simple to-poke home is anyone’s guess four minutes later, but the striker somehow managed to.
The Dons then took a two-goal lead, making it 4-2 on 69 minutes when Piggot dispossessed a sloppy Byron Moore - he passed to in-running Longman, who cooly chipped the ball over Cooper from just inside the Argyle penalty area.
Danny Mayor almost pulled one back for the visitors three minutes later but his 20-yarder rattled the Dons’ crossbar and zipped out to safety.
Then extraordinarily poor defending saw Argyle score twice within a two minute spell on 75 minutes, first substitute Niall Canavan heads home with a glancing header then second sub Dominic Telford snapped home the equaliser.
Moore almost won it for the Greens late on but his diving header just went the wrong side of the goal.
1 Connah Trueman, 2 Luke O’Neill, 6 Terrell Thomas, 4 Alex Woodyard, 33 Callum Reilly, 29 Ryan Longman, 18 Nesta Guinness-Walker, 19 Shane McLoughlin, 11 Ethan Chislett, 30 Paul Kalambayi, 39 Joe Piggot
Subs: 13 Nik Tzanev, 5 Will Nightingale, 3 Daniel Csoka, 7 Cheye Alexander, 8 Anthony Hartigan, 10 Adam Roscrow, 16 Jakob Oksanen
Plymouth Argyle: 1 Mike Cooper, 2 Kelland Watts, 5 Scott Wootton, 4 Will Aimson, 8 Joe Edwards, 15 Conor Grant, 16 Lewis Macleod, 19 10 Danny Mayor, 32 George Cooper, 9 Ryan Hardie, 7 Frank Nouble
Subs: Ruddy, 6 Niall Canavan, 11 Dom Telford, 17 Byron Moore, 19 Klaidi Lolos, 27 Ryan Law, 28 Panutche Camara
Referee Trevor Kettle