For the first time since Wednesday 3 March, the Dons played out a goalless draw at Kingsmeadow. Rob Ursell may have missed a late penalty, but in truth the Dons misfired too often in attack as passes failed to find their intended targets.
Dave Anderson reverted back to 3-5-2 for the first hour, with Jay Conroy returning at right wing-back. Gareth Graham was fit enough to partner Chris Gell and Ursell in midfield. The pitch looked patchy for the first time this season, with small areas of sand all over the playing surface, causing some problematic bobbles in the middle of the park.
Bashley had caused problems in the New Forest with their pace and movement upfront and, despite the absence of Gillespie, looked to do the same at Kingsmeadow. Early corners were dealt with comfortably enough, but some slack marking afterwards saw Langrish free in the box. Fortunately for Wimbledon, he scuffed his shot wide.
Conroy seemed invigorated by his trial at Mansfield and looked to be enjoying the increased attacking duties of the wing-back role, ending an early run with a fizzing shot that Elm palmed behind. The Bashley goalkeeper comfortably claimed the corner.
The game looked more stretched than most Dons matches of late, with both sides happy to send men forward in attack. And the visitors gave as good as they got in the opening period, forcing further corners after Gibbons stung Jake Cole?s hands with a well-struck near-post shot.
That prompted the Dons into a spell of possession of their own, with Gell and Ursell linking up well, but the final crosses were disappointing. Ursell and Butler then attempted to trick their way up the pitch using only backheels, but the third one missed its target. From yet another Bashley corner, Culliford headed well over.
Ursell then played a delightful pass for Richard Butler to run onto. The striker?s current rich vein of form certainly seems to have him playing with confidence and he shrugged off his marker to squeeze in a well-struck shot that was blocked behind for two further corners. But they both came to nothing.
As half-time neared, Gell regained possession on the half-way line and played Randall up the channel. But the striker?s cross narrowly eluded Ursell?s run into the box and the scoreline remained goalless at the interval. Dave Anderson was clearly unimpressed with the first-half fare, judging by a dressing-room ?chat? that could be heard ten yards and two closed doors away.
The second half opened in fairy uneventful fashion as the Dons played the ball around the Bashley box without finding a cutting edge. Bashley threatened on the break, but Cooper produced a brave challenge to clear on the edge of the area.
Richard Butler laid the ball back to Graham, who sent a great first-time pass ahead of the striker. Butler collected the return ball and ran into the box at pace, but his pullback fell behind Ursell.
With 25 minutes remaining, Dave shook things up by making a double substitution and switching to 4-4-2. Gavin Bolger came on a right-midfield, with Antony Howard pushed out to right-back. Leon McDowall replaced Randall alongside Richard Butler.
The change certainly seemed to shake things up. Richard Butler broke clear on the left ad crossed for Ursell. He tried to tee up McDowall with a flick, but the ball broke loose. Gell sent a low pass into the box for Bolger, who set a shot fizzing narrowly wide with his first touch.
Matt Parnell, who had been happily dishing out some rumbustious challenges all afternoon, elected to sit down on the halfway line and Leon McDowall was inexplicably booked by the referee for inflicting the apparent harm. Having found his book, the referee elected to produce it again four minutes later for what seemed an extremely harsh caution for Antony Howard.
Jake Cole made what was probably the first mistake of his AFC Wimbledon career so far with a poor clearance, but as he scrambled back into goal, Bashley managed to miss the opportunity as the goalbound shot struck the attacker?s head and flew over.
With six minutes remaining the referee, who had seemed disinclined to give the Dons many decisions all afternoon, suddenly gave them a golden chance to secure all three points as he awarded a frankly harsh penalty as Ursell was pushed over in a challenge in the box.
Ursell himself stepped up with the spot-kick, but Elm saved low to his right and the ball was hacked behind for a corner as the Dons? midfielder tried to make amends with the rebound.
With the whole afternoon summed up neatly in those few seconds, the game petered out to a blank conclusion for only the fourth nil-nil draw since Wimbledon?s reformation.