Marathon men are ready for the or­deal

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE TWO - By Alec Fenn

NEIL ARD­LEY was re­lieved to see his AFC Wim­ble­don side hold on for a point as they headed into a pe­riod of nine games in 35 days.

Jake Reeves gave them the lead on 13 min­utes when he con­verted a close-range ef­fort from a well-worked cor­ner kick rou­tine, as they dom­i­nated the open­ing half.

But they failed to cre­ate fur­ther clear chances and were pun­ished when More­cambe equalised through Padraig Amond’s header just be­fore half­time.

“A draw was a fair re­sult,” said Ard­ley.“We had the bet­ter of the first half, but I thought we over-played at times.We missed sev­eral re­ally good op­por­tu­ni­ties to get crosses into the box.

“More­cambe’s goal knocked the stuffing out of us and they were the bet­ter side in the sec­ond half.We strug­gled with our tran­si­tion from de­fence to attack.”

Just a point sep­a­rated the sides go­ing into the game, but it was Wim­ble­don who dis­played far greater qual­ity on the ball in a dom­i­nant open­ing.

Sev­eral slick pass­ing moves came to no avail un­til a more di­rect ap­proach, cour­tesy of Fran­comb’s out-swing­ing cor­ner on 13 min­utes, found Ade­bayo Ak­in­fenwa. He laid the ball per­fectly into Reeves’ path to fire home.

More­cambe were bereft of ideas in pos­ses­sion, of­ten re­sort­ing to lump­ing the ball aim­less- ly down the chan­nels, but some­how found them­selves back in the game just be­fore half-time.

A won­der­ful Lau­rence Wil­son cross from the left found Amond and he glanced home their only chance of the half.

The goal gave Jim Bent­ley’s side mo­men­tum, but clear op­por­tu­ni­ties re­mained at a pre­mium.

On 46 min­utes, Jack Red­shaw swiv­elled and fired a left-foot shot just wide of the post from 18 yards, in what was the Shrimps’ best chance of the sec­ond half.

Wim­ble­don de­fender Deji Oshi­laja headed over from an­other Fran­comb cor­ner on 80 min­utes, while sub­sti­tute Paul Mullin tested James Shea with an in­jury­time strike from the edge of the box. The re­sult makes it five straight draws for More­cambe, with manager Bent­ley frus­trated at a lack of cut­ting edge.

He said:“I thought their goal was a well-worked cor­ner rou­tine and you have to praise them for that.We lacked con­fi­dence af­ter their goal, but we scored just be­fore the break and that changed the game for us.

“An­drea (Aresti­dou) hasn’t made a save in the sec­ond half and we just needed that lit­tle bit of luck.We were hop­ing for a late goal to burst the net but it de­serted us, which it has for a num­ber of weeks.”



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