AFC Wimbledon earned a smash-and-grab victory against Rochdale as Ethan Chislett’s late goal earned the visitors the share of the spoils at Spotland.
There was some optimism amongst Rochdale fans ahead of kick-off, as summer signing Stephen Humphrys, as well as Kwadwoh Baah, returned to the bench after a lengthy time on the sidelines.
Haydon Roberts returned to the side after sitting out recent cup losses against Stockport County and Salford City and unfortunately for Dale fans, he was one of the few bright sparks during the game.
The first-half was something of a non-affair, with the home side allowed to dominate possession by the visitors, who were more than happy to sit back and counter-attack.
This tactic led to the first chance of the game as the away side robbed Jimmy Ryan of possession and countered quickly, which led to Ryan Longman’s shot being deflected just over Jay Lynch’s goal.
The on-loan Brighton man had another opportunity after 15 minutes but he blazed Shane McLoughlin’s teasing cross over the bar.
Dale created their first opportunity of the game a few minutes later, as Alex Newby did well down the right-hand side to cross for Matty Lund, but his acrobatic effort was way over the crossbar.
The Northern Irishman had another half-chance later on in the half but he couldn’t add to his impressive goal tally from this season so far, as his looped header was comfortably saved by Connor Trueman in the Wimbledon goal.
Half-time Rochdale 0-0 AFC Wimbledon
After a first-half in which Rochdale dominated possession and Wimbledon sat back, the away side came out a bit more positively in the second 45, but it was Brian Barry-Murphy’s side who grabbed the first opportunity.
A cross-field ball from Aaron Morley found it’s way through to Ollie Rathbone, but the former Manchester United man’s dink over the keeper drifted agonisingly wide of the post.
Morley tested Trueman with a cross that looked to be heading for the top corner before Humphrys made his return on the hour mark.
Unfortunately, it was not to be a happy return for the striker, as once Jake Beesley was replaced by Matty Done with 20 minutes remaining, Dale lost any sort of out ball, which allowed the visitors to push forward more in search of a winner.
After nearly 70 minutes of barely threatening, suddenly it seemed as if it was only a matter of time before the away side took the lead and it was perhaps only down to the deficiency of their crosses that meant the scores stayed level until the 90-minute mark.
Lynch did well to deny Pigott’s deflected effort late on, but he could do nothing about Chislett’s late winner, as the substitute turned well inside the box and finished well to earn the visitors all three points.
Although Dale had the majority of the ball, they showed very little creative quality during the game and almost seemed happy to settle for the draw late on, so they can have no complaints about losing the game.
Barry-Murphy’s side must produce a much better display when they face Northampton Town on Tuesday night, otherwise, it looks as if it will be another desperate battle against relegation this season.
Full Time: Rochdale 0-1 AFC Wimbledon