There was agreement all round at the end of the match. The Spireites had lost it in the opening 30 minutes.
Chesterfield, on their first visit to Kingsmeadow, pummelled the Dons’ rearguard with a non-stop barrage of shots and corners. General opinion this season is that goals won’t be a problem for Chesterfield with Marc Richards, Jack Lester, Jordan Bowery and Craig Westcarr in the squad. But, in red-hot temperatures in the capital, it was the lack of goals that cost them in this game.
After Wimbledon’s half-hour on the rack, they scored - ironically, from a visiting attack.
Bowery and Danny Whitaker were by the corner flag on the left, looking to spawn yet another bout of pressure on Seb Brown’s goal. But, with Mat Mitchel-King and Angus MacDonald in attendance, Bowery gave the ball away. Surely no danger. Wrong!
Nineteen-year-old MacDonald wasn’t born when the Wimbledon crazy gang won the FA Cup, but the Reading loanee must’ve picked up some of their vibes as he humped the ball long to set off a chase between defender Neal Trotman and striker Jack Midson. Trotman, in the Spireites’ new gold strip, managed only silver in the race as Midson latched on to the ball after several bounces to slot it beyond Tommy Lee to turn the game on its head.
Dons boss Terry Brown confessed: “I thought we got absolutely battered for half an hour.”
Chesterfield boss John Sheridan said: “We started the game really well and we could easily have scored four goals in the first 20 minutes. Then it was typical of us, people switching off and their first shot at goal ends up in the back of the net.”
The home side we able to play with a little more confidence after the goal. Play, though still with Chesterfield seeing more of the ball, was much more even.
Prior to the goal, Drew Talbot, three times, and Nathan Smith had forced the keeper to work well. Richards had shot wide and Bowery was blocked on a couple of occasions.
In AFC’s occasional breaks, MacDonald had fizzed a free-kick just wide but his long ball forwards changed the complexion of the game.
Bowery had a shot cleared off the line, Richards was again frustrated and Sam Hird, whose defensive play was excellent, ran from his own half only for Brown to pull off another terrific save.
Sheridan concluded: “The game was there for the taking but in the second half we never got going.”
Things go wrong in football. We had a broken linesman’s flag and a sprinkler setting off during play in this game. But the biggest failure of all in the contest was the inability of Chesterfield to score when they had an inferior team on the rack for a sustained period of time.
Wimbledon (4-4-2): Brown 8, MacDonald 7, Mitchel-King 6, Balkestein 6, Cummings 6, Kiernan 7 (Jolley 66, 7), Long 6 (Yussuff 78), S.Moore 7, Harris 6, L.Moore 6, Midson 7. Subs (not used): Jaimez-Ruiz, Fenlon, Merrifield, Harrison, Strutton.
Chesterfield (4-4-2): Lee 6, Forbes 7, Trotman 5 (Westcarr 69, 5), Hird 8, Smith 7, Talbot 8, Togwell 7, Randall 6, Whitaker 6, Richards 5 (Lester 80), Bowery 5 (Boden 61, 6). Subs (not used): O’Donnell, Darikwa, Hazel, Allott.
Bookings: Balkestein (Wimbledon); Togwell, Westcarr (Chesterfield).