The phase ‘relegation six-pointer' is brandished to nearly every game taking place towards the business end of the season, however, for this evening’s fixture at Plough Lane, three points was the pivotal crux of the match; nothing else would do.
Prior to this evening’s clash, the Dons had only won three times at Plough Lane since moving back to SW19 with Mark Robinson’s side needing vital points in their fight for survival.
With time of the essence for the Dons to pick up points, Robinson aimed to start the game on the front foot, with the introduction of Ollie Palmer to start alongside Joe Pigott up front.
It was the latter who had the best chance to open the scoring on the 11th minute when Ryan Longman found Pigott on the edge of the area.
The 27-year-old picked the ball up and curled a left footed shot towards the top right corner, however, the ball sailed agonisingly wide of the far post.
With the unforgiving wind swirling around Plough Lane, the intense tempo continued to build.
Gavin Massey was Wigan’s most potent threat and drove at Nesta Guinness-Walker in the opening 15 minutes, but the 28-year-old lacked the cutting edge to find the killer pass inside the box.
Wimbledon’s sails were being blown in the right direction and Ryan Longman was next to test Jamie Jones.
The right-winger danced his way through the Wigan defence and delayed pulling the trigger until the final moment. But Longman’s left-footed strike fell straight into the gloves of the grateful Jones.
The second half
Wigan came out of the blocks fastest for the second half and nearly opened the scoring through midfielder, George Johnston, who tested Nik Tzanev from close range after jinking into the area.
Wigan continued to pick up the pace with the dynamic duo of Viv Solomon-Otabor and Dan Gardner causing the Dons' defence a number of problems.
Wigan’s consistent assault finally paid off on the 57th minute.
Beating Cheye Alexander for pace, Garner arrowed into the area and picked out Jamie Proctor who was circling the penalty area.
Proctor collected the ball and he was immediate swarmed by a barrage for blue shirts. The 28-year-old dropped his shoulder, paused to assess his options, and rolled the ball passed the helpless Tzanev to give the visitors the lead.
Joe Pigott almost had an instant reply, however, his header from a Guinness-Walker corner, flew inches over the bar.
While fighting for points is the main concern for the Dons, Robinson has also attempted to instil a 'never say die' attitude into the DNA of his side.
It is a core value which has been epitomised by George Dobson, who headed home the equaliser on the 80th minute.
After Ryan Longman whipped in a tantalising cross from a corner, which hung in the powerful wind, Dobson arrived late to crash the ball past Jamie Jones and sent the Dons bench into pandemonium.
Wimbledon need to find that winning formula
The south west Londoners have failed to score in eight of their last 13 league matches, including each of the last two. A factor which must change if Robinson’s side are to have any chance of staying up.
The Dons have also only won three times at Plough Lane since moving back to SW19. Their woeful home record has also plagued the club this season; there seems to be a Plough Lane hoodoo.
While Robinson has instilled an organic work rate, a steely grit and a determined endeavour into his side, the lack of a cutting edge is hemorrhaging Wimbledon's survival chances.
Two sides battled for the draw
In a game where three points are so incredibly precious, it is no surprise the cagey affair which played out at Plough Lane.
Both defensives were relatively unscathed, with the lion's share of the action taking place in the midfield.
The Dons pairing of George Dobson and Callum Reilly harried and hustled. While the Wigan duo of Lee Evans and Funso Ojo used their wealth of experience to rebuke any Wimbledon attack.
With the Dons once again lacking a cutting edge – almost afraid to shoot at times – all it was going to take was for one clear cut Wigan chance to break the deadlock.