Despite another storming finish from the Dons, it finished all square in this keenly contested match at Twerton Park. Terry Brown may be the more disappointed of the two managers, however, having watched his defence present City with two soft, second half goals.
Elliott Godfrey had given the Dons the lead converting Sam Hatton’s swirling near post cross from the right halfway through the first period. Martin Paul then levelled on 49 minutes before Gethin Jones was given too much room to run the ball 40 yards unchallenged before drilling past Andy Little with 18 minutes left. Although the visitors responded well and got their reward when Alan Inns equalised, they couldn’t grind out the winner and so the 100% league record is finally over.
The Dons were forced to make just one change to the Bank Holiday starting eleven. Chris Hussey came in at left back to replace the injured Michael Haswell. Both Jason Goodliffe and Chris Sullivan were fit enough to be included in the sixteen with the Dons subs bench containing more experienced by the week.
A cagey opening 15 minutes saw just three chances. Bath striker Stuart Douglas spun away from his marker in the box and fired straight at Andy Little. Moments later, Chris Hussey put Elliott Godfrey into the left hand channel but keeper Steve Perrin was given an equally tame effort to catch. Back at the visitors’ end, Lewis Hogg’s free kick delivery from the left should have been put away by big centre half Chris Holland but he headed wide.
The Dons first corner arrived on 20 minutes. Godfrey found Alan Inns at the front post but Perrin made a fine, point-blank, reflex stop.
Hatton dragged a good free-kick opportunity wide of the right hand post, but he atoned for his wayward strike four minutes later, cutting in from the right wing and providing a dangerous cross to the near post that Godfrey steered past the flat footed Perrin.
Clearly not happy with what he was seeing City boss John Relish substituted forward Danny Carey-Bertram for Martin Paul. Bath regained a bit of momentum before half time with Douglas engineering a couple of half chances that he couldn’t capitalise on.
Mark Badman replaced winger Sekani Simpson at the interval as the hosts looked for a quicker tempo in the second period, and they got exactly what they needed four minutes after the restart when Paul took advantage of some slack defending to bundle the ball past Little following a goal mouth scramble.
The Dons reacted well, weathering the storm and finding their rhythm once again. Some fine approach work from Inns, Hatton and Tony Finn put Jon Main behind the Bath backline but Evans was parried the striker’s effort to safety. Main then lost his marker to get on Ben Judge’s cross from the left but his header looped over the bar. Garrard and Godfrey combined to present Finn with a shooting opportunity but the keeper was well positioned and gathered comfortably.
Ever vulnerable to the counter, the Wombles virtually gift wrapped City’s second goal on 72 minutes. Kennedy Adjei was robbed by Jones deep in Bath territory and the visitors pretty much cleared a path all the way to the penalty box allowing him free access to unleash a low drive into the bottom right hand corner.
Relish made his final substitution bringing on the busy Jason Wood tasked with closing down the Dons back four over the final quarter. Terry Brown responded with Dean Mason’s introduction in place of Adjie as the Dons reshaped into a 4-4-2 that placed Godfrey on the right flank and Finn on the left.
Three minutes later Finn shimmied in from the touchline and curled his effort onto the far post with the keeper beaten. Godfrey followed up the rebound but Perrin recovered well and palmed the midfielder’s shot away for yet another corner.
The Romans’ backline was in stubborn mood and their ‘all hands to the pump’ work ethic looked like it might ensure all three points. But the Dons have a penchant for late goals and so it was again. Hussey had just cleared up a defensive mess and sent Garrard on his way up the right flank. The full back chipped the ball into the right hand channel where Godfrey was looming. He raced into the penalty area and squared the ball for centre half Inns who was on hand to stroke the ball into the net.
Garrard was then replaced by Jason Goodliffe having picked up a series of knocks during the match and Judge shuttled into the right back slot. Goodliffe’s first involvement almost won the match. Hatton delivered a pinpoint cross into the six yard box for the centre back but he got his timing wrong and the ball spun off his shoulder for a goal kick.
The Dons pushed on looking to extend their run of stoppage time goals, generating pressure and yet more corners. Mason would have the last attempt of the afternoon stooping to meet Finn’s right wing cross after some neat build up but the young striker couldn’t direct his header under the cross bar and the points were finally shared.
AFC Wimbledon now take their unbeaten record to Essex on Tuesday for an intriguing encounter with Braintree Town, a side who have found a way through their poor early season form having hammered Team Bath 4-1 this weekend.