Brighter day for Burton as Dons find their balance

Wimbledon 1 Sheffield Wednesday 1
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The Independent Online

Positive thinking was being urged by Terry Burton before this match and this draw yielded some fairly concrete evidence of its worth. At half-time it looked like his Wimbledon side were heading for their fourth defeat of the campaign, with fans and players appearing similarly dispirited.

After the interval, it was nearly all sweetness and light from the stands and constant pressure from the Dons, who eventually forced a deserved equaliser. All it needed for three points was some sharper work by David Connolly in front of goal, but at least Burton, who threatened to leave in midweek, ultimately had some sort of unified response on and off the pitch.

What prompted Burton's drastic threat was the throwing away of a 3-0 lead in a league match last Wednesday, along with the fans constant berating of the board and it was they, again, who produced the most committed and consistent performance in the first half.

Achant after 15 minutes of "We want Koppel out" was enough to wake anyone out of their Saturday afternoon slumber and the fans proceeded to chant throughout the first period, distracting attention away from the mediocre stuff on the pitch.

In the light of some of the chants, Burton recognised afterwards that the situation would not change overnight adding that he was in a difficult position because, "I can see the fans' point of view and the board's point of view".

Out on the pitch, Wimbledon have been suffering all season, not least with an injury crisis that has robbed them of 12 players, five of whom are first-teamers. Yet it was Burton's men who went closest after just seven minutes, when Kevin Cooper forced a good save low down from Kevin Pressman. And half-an-hour later Andy Roberts and then Connolly forced Pressman into action again, bringing an acrobatic double save from the goalkeeper. Then six minutes before the interval, Wednesday took the lead.

Against the run of play, the captain Trond Soltvedt forced a brilliant fingertip save from Kelvin Davis, but straight from the corner Tommy Johnson steered his header home.

Yet, the way Wimbledon came out after the interval an equaliser looked likely, and they duly delivered after 59 minutes. In truth it was no less than they deserved, as they pinned Wednesday deep inside their own half and further back towards Pressman's goal.

It was a needless intervention by Pressman that led to Michael Hughes's second goal in as many games. Kevin Cooper crossed from the left and with the ball floating to no-one in particular, Pressman pushed it out only as far as the Northern Ireland international who drilled it home. Wimbledon fans should not get too excited, as Burton admitted later that he would have to accept any offer for him or any other player, and that will surely only pour more fuel on the fire.

Wimbledon 1

Hughes 58

Sheffield Wednesday 1

Johnson 40

Half-time 0-1 Attendance: 6,590

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