REPORT | AFC Wimbledon 2 Charlton 2

Nigel Adkins’ reign as Charlton manager began with a 2-2 draw against AFC Wimbledon at Plough Lane. 

A frenetic opening quarter saw the Addicks take the lead on 10 minutes through a trademark Jayden Stockley header, but Charlton were pegged back by Ryan Longman’s equaliser, before Diallang Jaiyesimi’s first goal restored the advantage.

Wimbledon were then gifted an equaliser 20 minutes into the second period when Longman tapped home his second after Akin Famewo underhit a pass back to Ben Amos from a short goal-kick.

Adkins named an unchanged side from Tuesday’s 3-2 win against Bristol Rovers under caretaker manager Johnnie Jackson as the Addicks began in a 4-4-2 formation.

The hosts started sprightly with Longman and Ayoub Assal combining well to administer an early opportunity that was deflected wide for an early Dons corner.

Just moments later, Charlton were forced to withdraw the in-form Conor Washington with what appeared to be a hamstring problem. Diallang Jaiyesimi replaced the Northern Irish international as the Addicks switched into a fluid 4-3-3 formation, with Jaiyesimi and Liam Millar playing either side of Jayden Stockley.

The change of system soon paid dividends when Ben Amos’ ball forward found Albie Morgan, who fed Millar on the left flank. Tricky footwork from the Liverpool loanee saw him jink inside and then out to glide past Luke O’Neill before crossing into Stockley, who crept in at the near post to head past Nikola Tzanev from close range.

With Morgan enjoying himself on the ball, the Addicks looked threatening and almost doubled their lead when neat passing play between Jaiyesimi, Morgan and Gunter allowed the Welshman to feed the academy graduate in behind the Dons defence, but Morgan’s ball across the box was scrambled clear.

A long ball forward launched a Wimbledon attack, finding Joe Pigott on the edge of the Charlton box. The striker’s well-weighted pass found Longman, who showed great composure to cut back onto his left foot before firing past Amos into the bottom corner.

The Dons’ leveller was short-lived, however, as Jake Forster-Caskey’s sprayed ball in behind O’Neill found Millar in space. More dazzling feet from the Canadian allowed him to drive inside before squaring to Jaiyesimi, who controlled the ball with his first touch and lashed home a left-footed effort past a helpless Tzanev with his second.

 The roaming Millar continued to trouble the Dons back line, this time finding himself on the right flank after Stockley’s lay-off. The winger shifted the ball onto his right foot and unleashed an effort towards the near post which Tzanev was equal to.

Charlton began the second period quickly, with Ian Maatsen surging forward from left back and finding Millar inside the box, but his flick on was dealt with by Wimbledon.  

An effective counter attack from the hosts saw Longman play a one-two with Oksanen before taking on Maatsen. Fortunately for the Addicks, his cross flashed across the six-yard box and past the onrushing Dons players.  

A chance then fell to Charlton as Andrew Shinnie turned well on the edge of the box before striking a low-drilled shot past the far post.

The hosts were then given an equaliser on 65 minutes, courtesy again of Longman. Amos’ goal-kick found Famewo, but the latter’s ball back to the ‘keeper found Longman, who stole in ahead of Amos to level the scoreline for the second time of the afternoon.

Seemingly buoyed by restoring parity, the Dons began to play more expansively. Substitute Jack Rudoni played in Pigott, who, despite being forced wide, unleashed an effort towards goal which struck the right upright.

With six minutes to play, the Dons were awarded a free-kick after Shinnie’s foul on the edge of the 18-yard box and, had it not been Amos, would have taken the lead. Pigott’s effort was destined for the top-left corner but was superbly saved by the Addicks stopper at full stretch.

There was late drama as Chuks Aneke created space before firing a venomous shot towards goal, which cannoned off the post before bouncing back into the grateful arms of Tzanev to force the Addicks to settle for a point.

The draw sees the Addicks’ unbeaten run stretch to six games ahead of the international break, before a return to action on Good Friday at Doncaster Rovers.

AFC Wimbledon: Tzanev; O’Neill (Guinness-Walker 64), Heneghan, Nightingale, Alexander; Woodyard (C), Dobson, Oksanen; Assal (Rudoni 64); Longman, Pigott

Subs: (not used): Cox, Osew, McLoughlin, Chislett, Palmer

Goals: Longman 15, 65

Booked: Oksanen (preventing a quick free-kick)

Charlton: Amos; Gunter, Famewo, Pearce (C), Maatsen; Morgan (Pratley 78’), Forster-Caskey, Shinnie, Millar (Aneke 68’); Stockley, Washington (Jaiyesimi 5’) (Schwartz 78’)

Subs (not used): Maynard-Brewer, Oshilaja, Watson

Goals: Stockley 10, Jaiyesimi 21

Booked: Aneke (foul)

Referee: C Breakspear

Attendance: 0 (behind closed doors)

(Report by James Waller)

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