Accrington Stanley disappeared from the Football League in 1962, the 1980s milk advert with the line "Accrington Stanley – who are they? Exactly" the Lancashire club's only impact until they returned to League Two in 2006. But now there is a risk of sinking back into "Who are they?"
Yesterday's draw, only their third point of the season, leaves Stanley five adrift at the base of League Two, but despite being down to 10 men for half the game they came within four minutes of giving James Beattie his first win since taking over as manager.
Even so, such a meagre points would put the manager's job in jeopardy at any other club, but Peter Marsden, the Stanley chairman, has said Beattie's is secure.
"The chairman can see what we've done and is behind us," Beattie said. "It has been challenging but something I have enjoyed. I've learned more about management in four months than I would have on any course."
Beattie became player-coach in November at the invitation of former Blackburn team-mate Leam Richardson. When Richardson left for Chesterfield in May, he recommended Beattie. Some fans would prefer to see John Coleman, the manager for 13 years until 2012, return, but yesterday's performance may convert them to Beattie's cause.
Kayode Odejayi, on loan from Rotherham, headed Stanley into the lead after 17 minutes, but was sent off in first-half injury time for elbowing Jack Midson. Wimbledon's efforts were rewarded in the 86th minute when Accrington's concentration wavered and Alan Bennett nodded the equaliser from Barry Fuller's cross.
"I'd rather have played with 11 but I'm very proud of the players," Beattie said. "There were some magnificent performances and I want to thank the lads. Going 1-0 up was a relief and we played as in training. If we show that commitment and desire we won't be bottom for long."
AFC Wimbledon (4-4-2): Worner; Fuller, Bennett, Weston, Kennedy (Arthur, 58); Porter, Pell, S Moore, L Moore; Smith, Midson (Saint-Luce, 74).
Accrington Stanley (4-5-1): Bettinelli; Hunt, Atkinson, (Winnard, 15), Aldred, Naylor; Mingoia (Hatfield, 90), Joyce, Murphy, Richardson, Caton (Carver, h-t); Odejayi.
Referee Garry Sutton.
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