I suppose when one team needs a point to ensure League One survival and the other one has failed to score in their previous three games that a 0-0 draw represents the most likely outcome.
So it proved, and to call this a ‘bore draw’ probably does disservice to that cliche; it was truly awful. An almost featureless first half produced nothing of note, apart from Rovers, who started in a 3-5-2 formation with Alfie Beestin woefully miscast as a left-wing-back, switching to a 4-4-2 with a midfield diamond during the course of the half.
The second half was marginally better, but not notably so. John Marquis headed straight at Wimbledon goalkeeper George Long after Tom Anderson had nodded back Niall Mason’s free kick. Ben Whiteman then stung Long’s palms with a fierce shot from the edge of the box.
Realising that they couldn’t just stroll through 90 minutes and claim a point, Wimbledon came to life and substitute Kwesi Appiah fired over from close range. Then Appiah’s fierce, goal-bound drive was deflected wide and to safety by Mason.
The final whistle brought relief both to the 482 travelling Wimbledon fans, who knew they would be returning to the Keepmoat next season, and everyone else, simply glad this was over.
Rovers conclude their season on Saturday with a visit from Champions-elect Wigan Athletic. The end to this season really can’t come soon enough.
by John Coyle