The Dons dropped two vital points in the eighth minute of added time to the disappointment of the home contingent and to leave their League One survival uncertain. In match of treble redemption.
Jacko made a couple of switches from the Pride Park game on Easter Monday. Out went Jonathan Leko, Henry Lawrence and in came Jack Tucker and Conor Grant as Tennai Watson switched back to right wing back.
The first ten minutes saw the Dons create a handful of chances to score, Stewart’s header that didn’t get a clear contact on, a Lewington drive that sailed over and Tennai, who had a shot blocked to Cheltenhams Alfie May’s one. He tried the unusual which is the usual for him, but he failed.
So with the Dons looking comfortable and gaining confidence, it was time to get Donsy and we did it spectacularly. In a series of around six passes gradually getting deeper and deeper into a Cheltenham ambush Jamie Cumming gave the ball on a plate and Bonds slammed the ball home.
The referee in the first twenty minutes appeared to have left his yellow card in the dressing one as not one, not two but three cynical fouls that deserved a booking and yet the most likely to get a card was Lewington for pointing out the ref’s leniency.
Then between the thirtieth and thirty third the Dons had another chance, the Robins captain was booked and then Eisa collapsed needing treatment.
The game really came to life for the Dons as Holland had a chance parried by the visiting keeper and then he flicked Grants pass into Eisa who shot towards goal instantly with the ball nestling into the back of the Town net.
Jackos half time talk now could be different as the Dons went into the break level.
HT Dons 1 Cheltenham 1
No changes for the Dons to start the second half and the first ten minutes if half two were almost like half one, several chances went spurned including an absolute golden opportunity saw Mo literally have to much time to decide and finish, unlike the goal where instinct took over. Mo delayed on a finish from excellent work from Watson and the keeper stood tall and smothered the ball.
Many thought the Dons would regret that missed chance but less than two minutes later, redemption part 1 came: Another brilliant piece of Watson wizardry saw him brought to the ground and a penalty was awarded.
You don’t save them. Fired high and hard into the roof of the net with the keeper flapping at thin air. Mo The Redeemer.
A raft of changes followed with the Leko for Holland being the first and most influential. He tormented the Cheltenham left side of defence for almost half an hour including added time.
Olayinka, who gave the pen away, left the field on a stretcher to a standing ovation. We wish him a speedy recovery from what looked like a bad twist as he landed after a nothing challenge. More than five minutes would be added and this would haunt the Dons.
Cheltenham were rewarded their own spot kick for a trip and Alfie May stepped up and you’d normally put your mortgage on him, well this was Redemption Two, Jamie Cumming atoned for his first half gaff with a strong right hand save as May struck his kick almost the mirror image of Eisa but to the right. The ball looped harmlessly over the bar and into the empty seating at the away end.
It was almost the second procession of the day from here on in. The right side of the Dons coming forward was rocking and Leko was the lead.
The deflated away side only broke on occasions and with limited threat but the Dons looked the most likely to score as chances came and went.
And so we come to redemption number three and unfortunately for us it came with the last kick of the match for Alfie May. The extra time was into its eighth minute when May smashed the ball high into the same corner his penalty should have landed in a very crowded Dons six yard box.
FT Dons 2 Cheltenham 2
As the Derby draw felt like a win this undoubtedly feels like a defeat. We snatched a draw from the jaws of victory. Its Donsish and we move onto Charlton at home on Tuesday evening.
Still. It’s seven unbeaten and if you don’t win you shouldn’t lose.