AFC Wimbledon ended a goal drought but came home pointless from Shrewsbury after losing 2-1 at the death.

Here’s our reflections on an unjust but no less damaging defeat at Greenhouse Meadow.

The relegation zone begins to cast a shadow

Neal Ardley’s side have spent most of their inaugural season in League One punching above their weight, even creeping into the playoff spots earlier in the campaign.

However, one win in 11 in all competitions has brought a different mood and with other results going against them they are just five points ahead of the drop zone.

Tuesday’s rearranged trip to Gillingham is now huge.

Concern: Neal Ardley

What goes around comes around

Dons will head home tonight wondering how they lost a game they dominated in terms of chances created.

One goal chalked off, two off the line and two more which left the woodwork rattling.

But having salvaged two draws in injury time at home this week, slack marking in the final minute cost them dearly.

At least the goal drought is over

After 778 minutes without a goal on the road, Andy Barcham’s second half effort will henceforth consign that stat to the cutting room floor.

It looked for all the world that like London buses one would bring two and a much-needed win, but it wasn’t to be.

Goal: Andy Barcham

A rollercoaster week for Tom Elliott

Dons’ giant centre forward has been through the full gamut of emotions this week and must wonder if he has fallen over the proverbial black cat.

Elliott went from hero to zero in seconds last Saturday when his stoppage-time leveller against Charlton saw him sent off for excessive celebration.

His resulting ban saw him sit out the midweek draw with Coventry and though he was back bristling with aggression and threat, another debatable refereeing decision and the woodwork left him frustrated once more.

Darius Charles’ return is a positive

The big defender returned from injury to resume his partnership at the heart of the rear-guard with Paul Robinson and was a big presence at both ends.

Fellow defender Will Nightingale is another off the sick list after making the bench.

Both men could prove invaluable for nervous times ahead.

Back: Darius Charles

And the match...

AFC Wimbledon’s first away goal for 778 minutes was not save them from a cruel defeat at in-form Shrewsbury.

Andy Barcham was the man to end a drought stretching back to October 22nd cancelling out Tyler Roberts’ deflected opener for the hosts.

But Aristote Nsiala’s 90th minute header left them with nothing.

The result was harsh on Neal Ardley’s men, who had a goal disallowed, hit the woodwork twice and had another effort cleared off the line. But with results elsewhere going against them they are now just five points above the League One drop zone.

Dons began brightly and should have led when returnee from injury Darius Charles planted a free header off target with just five minutes played.

Shrews had a goal chalked off at the other end, Ryan Yates adjudged off-side when touching home Alex Rodman’s shot.

It was first half-half injury time when Dons twice came close to ending their goal famine.

First, Tom Soares’ 25-yarder crashed back off the upright with home keeper Jayson Leutwiler well beaten.

Woodwork: Tom Soares

Then in the next attack Tom Elliott, back from suspension, headed in, but celebrations stuck in the throats of Dons’ fans as the referee ruled the striker fouled his marker.

The change around did little to ease the frustration as 10 minutes after the break Elliott saw another header cleared off the line, while a follow-up effort by strike partner Lyle Taylor was scrambled behind for a corner.

Leutwiler kept out another long-range strike from Soares, but courtesy of a huge stroke of luck the hosts the hosts grabbed the lead against the run of play on 65 minutes.

Sean Kelly was penalised for a foul and Tyler Roberts’ resulting free-kick deflected off the wall leaving James Shea stranded.

Dons responded superbly, Charles seeing a header cleared off the line before the drought ended on 68 minutes, Barcham firing a grass-cutter inside Leutwiler’s left-hand post.

Ardley immediately brought on Dom Poleon and former Shrew Tyrone Barnett in search of all three points.

But all their hard work was undone in the final minute when Whalley’s corner found an unmarked Aristote Nsiala who headed past a helpless Shea.

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