If territorial advantage, possession and half chances counted for
anything then the Dons would have returned from Westleigh Park on Saturday afternoon with three more points towards their promotion goal. As it was, on the day the Dons did everything but put the ball in the net, and in the end had to settle for a point.
At the start of the season Havant had been one of the more fancied teams in the division, their Cup exploits at Liverpool having brought them to the nation's attention; however, they came into Saturday's game languishing in the relegation zone desperately in need of points, and with a squad stretched through injuries and the recall of loanees.
The home side started brightly and early indecision in the Dons defence at a corner led to the ball being cleared at the second attempt. This early Havant pressure also saw Dons' skipper Jason Goodliffe being yellow carded for a lungeing challenge.
After a shaky opening ten minutes the Dons settled, began to pass the ball accurately and went ahead on 12 minutes when Sam Hatton operating in central midfield slipped the ball through into the path of Jon Main. For once the league's leading goal scorer was unable to connect and the chance was gone. Minutes later a cross from the left by Elliott Godfrey found the Havant keeper in no man's land as Main ran across the path of the ball, but sadly his touch took the ball wide of the target.
The next 15 minutes saw the Dons bombard the Havant goal. The home side were camped in their own half as Wimbledon mounted one attack after another, and forced a number of corners.
On 31 minutes a foul on Danny Kedwell led to a long range free kick by Hatton. A by product of the incident was a head injury to Havant centre back Gary Elphick. With blood streaming from a head wound, Elphick was forced off the pitch to change kit and he returned swathed in a bandage. As the Dons mounted a more attacks Elphick was forced into action heading away a number
of dangerous crosses, in turn this led to more blood and more shirt
changes. By half time he was on his third shirt but sadly there were no goals.
The second started with Elphick donning his fourth shirt, and he was soon back on duty as the Dons immediately upped the pressure on the Havant goal. On 47 minutes a fierce drive from Hatton from 25 yards stung the hands of Scriven in the home goal. Wimbledon produced a number of telling raids down the left where Chris Hussey posed a constant threat.
After 55 minutes it seemed likely the deadlock might be broken as strong running by Kedwell produced a chance for Main, but this time the ball seemed to get stuck under his feet inside the six yard box and the chance was lost. On the hour Hussey cut into the box and his progress was checked, but the referee on the spot waved away all appeals.
With twenty minutes remaining and the Dons failing to find the key to unlock a stubborn Havant defence, the home side broke away on a rare sortie into the visitors area. A cross came in from the left and it was met by Watkins who headed over the crossbar from four yards out. It was Havant's best chance of the afternoon.
Soon manager Terry Brown started to make changes, Main replaced by Tom Davis and Tony Finn moving forward to partner Kedwell in attack.
After 78 minutes the Dons won a free kick on the edge of the Havant penalty area. Hatton and Hussey stood over the ball, both capable from this range. In the end a Hussey effort curled over the crossbar. Three minutes later a fine passing move involving Kedwell and Finn led to Hatton firing low and hard across the Havant six yard box, but Davis at the far post blasted over from close range with the goal at his mercy.
In a similar vein Finn dribbled his way along the goal line but again no one could apply the final touch to break the deadline. Manager Brown, with the last roll of the dice replaced Godfrey with Alan Inns, who immediately had an impact winning a number of balls in the air, and then fired over from 15 yards after a Hussey free kick.
The Dons to their credit continued to press forward to the final whistle, but the Havant defence in which Elphick was outstanding deserve credit for holding the league leaders to a goalless draw in a game that was never dull but failed to catch fire on the day.