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  • Charlie Stong at Plough Lane

11 booked and one off but Dons show bottle to hold Black Cats


AFC Wimbledon 1

Sunderland 1


Wimbledon battled to a 1-1 draw at home to promotion-chasing Sunderland this afternoon – but have now not won any of their past 13 games.


Alex Pritchard’s fantastic 25-yard free-kick for the Black Cats cancelled out Luke McCormick’s penalty six minutes earlier.


Referee Simon Mather waved away strong Wimbledon appeals for a second spot-kick later in the first half – a more blatant penalty than the one he did award, it appeared from the stands.


But the Dons held their own during a frenzied second period where no fewer than 11 players were booked – and McCormick was dismissed right at the end.


Sunderland had most of the ball in the early moments, but neither team could create a meaningful chance.


The first sight of goal came for Wimbledon’s Ethan Chislett, who fired his shot wide of the left-hand post from 25 yards on 15 minutes.


Wimbledon were awarded their penalty on 19 minutes – Callum Doyle somewhat harshly adjudged to have handled Jack Rudoni’s centre.


It was hard to see how Doyle could have got out of the way. But McCormick kept his cool and sent Anthony Patterson the wrong way from the spot.


The Dons should have doubled their lead five minutes later, skipper Ben Heneghan firing over from just a few yards out with the goal at his mercy following a melee in the Black Cats’ box which included a fine initial save from Patterson.


The visitors’ ‘keeper was called into action again on the half-hour, palming up and away a fierce cross-shot from McCormick as the Dins took control.


But completely against the run of play Sunderland were level - Pritchard curling his free-kick beyond Nik Tzanev in the Dons’ goal.


If the penalty had been harsh, Wimbledon will have considered themselves unfortunate not to have been awarded a second soon after the Sunderland equaliser – Rudoni appearing to be tripped, but referee Mather decided against giving the home side a second spot kick.


Patterson was forced into another save before half-time, pushing away Lee Brown’s 35-yard piledriver, but 1-1 it was at the break.


Sunderland’s Ross Stewart had the first chance of the second half but his touch allowed Paul Osew to get back and touch the ball behind for a corner. A first-time shot would have proved a better option for Stewart.


At the other end Patterson had to be on his guard to prevent a Brown corner curling directly in as the game heated up – before he was called into action again, this time to thwart Ayoub Assal.


By the time the referee blew his final whistle almost half the players who started the game had been show the yellow card.


Sunderland, chasing an automatic promotion place in League One this year, brought on Jermain Defoe and Corry Evans as they pushed for a winner.


The Dons responded by bringing on Anthony Hartigan and Aaron Cosgrave – as they sought the three points for altogether different reasons.


But neither could find that decisive strike and both had to settle for a point.


Teams:

Wimbledon: Tzanev, Nightingale, Marsh, Cosgrove (Cosgrave, 79), Assal, Chislett (Hartigan, 76), Rudoni, McCormick, Heneghan, Osew, Brown

Sunderland: Patterson, Doyle, Stewart (Roberts, 73), Winchester (Evans, 62), Cirkin, Pritchard, Neil, Clarke (Defoe 62), Matete, Hume


Referee: Simon Mather

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