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24 February 2015

Penalties missed and points shared

Penalties were missed by both teams as Cambridge United and AFC Wimbledon fought out a goalless draw.

After an evenly-contested first period, the Dons had the chance to take the lead in the opening minute of the second half after Adebayo Azeez was fouled by Josh Coulson. But Chris Dunn dived to his left to parry Adebayo Akinfenwa’s spot kick.

United got a penalty of their own when Ryan Donaldson’s shot was blocked by the hand of Sammy Moore, but Dunn’s Wimbledon counterpart James Shea was equal to Robbie Simpson’s effort.

Sullay Kaikai missed a great chance to win it late on, putting his shot wide with the goal gaping, but United will go on to Morecambe on Saturday looking for that elusive League Two victory.

The U’s made three changes, with striker Harrold handed an immediate debut partnering Robbie Simpson in attack, as Saturday’s front pairing Jordan Slew and Ryan Bird made way. Also coming into the side were Ian Miller and Richard Tait, with Michael Nelson dropping to the bench and Liam Hughes returning to midfield after spending the first half of Saturday’s match at right-back.

Wimbledon made the early running, with Jack Smith getting in down the left and putting in a low cross that was well blocked by Josh Coulson. Akinfenwa forced a routine save from Chris Dunn, while on the break 
Simpson was teed up by Harrold but his low effort was inches wide of the post.

United gradually got a foothold in the match, with wide-men Mendez-Laing and Donaldson seeing more of the ball. A quick throw-out from Dunn found Mendez-Laing in space, and though he beat his man his low cross was flicked away by a defender.

Josh Coulson then tested Shea with a looping header that was parried behind, while Simpson’s shot on the turn also drew a flying save from the former Arsenal stopper.

A penalty shout for handball against Hughes was turned away by referee Gavin Ward, and moments later the midfielder was unlucky not to open the scoring. The ball ran kindly for him after a Taylor cross had been headed down, but his low powerful shot was blocked on the line by Winfield.

The away fans were cheering a penalty award in the opening minute of the second period as Azeez went tumbling under Coulson’s stretching challenge. But Akinfenwa was left holding his head as Dunn stopped his effort.

Simpson’s penalty, awarded after Moore’s handball, was also decently struck, and brought a good save from Shea as he pushed it round the post. 

Wimbledon continued to edge possession, but United should have taken the points when a high cross from the left saw Harrold win the ball ahead of Shea. But as it dropped to Kaikai the substitute could only scuff his shot wide of the target.

May I Claim Man of the Match: Chris Dunn

Cambridge United: Dunn, Tait, Taylor, Miller, Coulson, Donaldson, Mendez-Laing, Champion, Hughes (Dunk 64), Simpson (Kaikai 66), Harrold. Subs not used: Norris, Slew, Nelson, Ball, Morrissey.

AFC Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Smith, Winfield, Oshilaja, Potter (Bulman 84), Beere (Rigg 76), Moore, Reeves, Akinfenwa, Azeez (Connolly 84). Subs not used: McDonnell, Kennedy, Tanner, Fitzpatrick.

Referee: Gavin Ward

Attendance: 4,259 (away: 318)

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