Pigott scores twice but AFC Wimbledon are denied fairytale Plough Lane return by late Doncaster goal
AFC Wimbledon 2 Doncaster Rovers 2
Joe Pigott’s double almost made it the perfect start for AFC Wimbledon in their new home, but an injury-time strike deprived them of a win to crown their barely-believable return to the old stomping ground.
In truth, they could have few complaints about the late disappointment of conceded a deflected goal to substitute James Coppinger, as Doncaster were the more polished outfit throughout.
But this was perhaps a night when details mattered much less than the very fact AFC Wimbledon were back in their spiritual home. It was the perfect choice of pre-match music over the PA to play Thin Lizzy’s The Boys Are Back in Town.
The game will also never be forgotten by Pigott, who enters local folklore as the first scorer in the new stadium.
He came so close to winning it too, with his sixth goal of the season seven minutes from time – converting a Steve Seddon cross from the left. It almost capped a glorious occasion for the club, even if Wombles fans were not given the opportunity to see it in person because of this wretched pandemic.
It was very much a pinch-yourself moment for those lucky enough to be in the new Plough Lane stadium to witness such a historic night and those present knew Pigott was a good bet to be the first player to indelibly stamp his name in the history books.
He opened the scoring after 18 minutes, rounding off a sweet move in which Seddon and Terell Thomas combined well on the left to carve up a retreating Donny defence.
That simple finish from 12 yards was arguably 29 years in the making – 1991 the year the Dons played their very last match at the old Plough Lane before the introduction of all-seater stadiums forced the move to Selhurst Park – the club’s home for a decade before their world came crashing down
The lead lasted six minutes. Matt Smith scoring for Donny at the second attempt after an initial effort had been blocked and it needed a fine lunging block from Seddon to deny winger Jon Taylor not long after.
Connal Trueman had a very busy night and was arguably man of the match. He had to be alert to ensure a Josh Sims strike did not get past him as the visitors – enjoying a lion’s share of the ball - posed the more awkward questions.
Doncaster were the crisper passing team and looked very capable of spoiling the virtual party being enjoyed by merry followers on small screens and nearby pubs – still one more day until Lockdown2.
Trueman was determined not to let the evening get away from the Dons, however, and he did well to get behind a deflected drive from substitute Bradley Halliday, and a header from Ben Whiteman.
Sims went even closer after cutting in from the left flank and Trueman needed strong palms to push it for a corner. He was beaten at the death but the night was all about the homecoming.
AFC Wimbledon: Trueman – Kalambayi (Rudoni 66), Nightingale, Thomas – McLoughlin (Alexander 75), Woodyard, Hartigan, Reilly, Seddon – Longman (Palmer 65), Pigott. Subs not used: Roscrow, Tzanev, Guinness-walker, Osew