AFC Wimbledon 0-0 Bristol RoversAttendance: 4,668 (806)
Rovers and AFC Wimbledon share the points with a 0-0 draw on Boxing Day.
Darrell Clarke made five changes to the side that won at Dagenham & Redbridge last time out as Steve Mildenhall, Mark McChrystal, Jake Gosling, Billy Bodin and Ellis Harrison all started at the expense of Will Puddy, Daniel Leadbitter, Tom Parkes, Stuart Sinclair and Rory Gaffney.
Rovers started very brightly as Billy Bodin's trickery caught out the Wimbledon backline and Rovers were awarded a free kick. Jake Gosling delivered the ball into the penalty area but beyond everyone at the far post.
Moments later the Dons were reduced to 10 men as referee Keith Hill issued Paul Robinson with a straight red card. Matty Taylor flicked on a ball through the middle of the park into the path of Ellis Harrison and the Wales Under-21 International made his way in front of Paul Robinson who bundled him to the ground giving the referee no choice but to send him to the stands for a professional foul.
Wimbledon seemingly stunned by the early red card took a long time to settle but had the next real chance of the game as Lyle Taylor left Mark McChrystal for dead but the Dons top goal scorer couldn't hit the target with his effort.
Darrell Clarke's side took their time in attack and following a nice move down their left hand side Lee Brown delivered a lovely pass across the six-yard area but Billy Bodin couldn't get that vital touch to make it 0-1.
Rovers continued to make their numerical advantage count as from a Rovers corner the ball was played out to the edge of the penalty area to Lee Brown who, following several deflections forced a good save from James Shea.
The Dons were clearly on the back foot but were looking to counter attack at every opportunity and from a Rovers corner Lyle Taylor showed great pace and drive but a combination of Lee Brown and James Clarke slowed what was a fantastic break.
A lot of play was going down the Rovers left hand side with Jake Gosling seeing a fair share of the ball. With just over five minutes of the first half remaining, Gosling started a superb flowing move including seven Rovers players before finding himself on the end of James Clarke's cross from the right but the Gibraltar International dragged his shot wide of James Shea's left hand post.
Darrell Clarke made a change to start the second half as Daniel Leadbitter came on to replace James Clarke to add a bit more pace to the Rovers attack but it was Wimbledon who started the brighter in the second period. The home side set up a lovely passing move before the ball fell to Andy Barcham who could only volley wide.
Rovers absorbed a lot of pressure from the Dons up until the hour mark where Ellis Harrison took the ball well on his chest before squaring the ball to Matty Taylor. Taylor attempted the first time volley but it went into the ground and was easy for James Shea.
Daniel Leadbitter's pace caused the home side a lot of trouble with their tired legs in the second half as Rovers counter attacked well from a Dons corner with Leadbitter hammering down on the goal. However, Wimbledon skipper Barry Fuller had other ideas making an incredible last ditch challenge just before Leadbitter could pull the trigger.
It was all Rovers in the second half but they couldn't find the breakthrough as efforts from Matty Taylor and substitute Cristian Montano failed to test the keeper.
With five minutes of normal time remaining, Wimbledon had the best chance of the match. George Francob whipped a pin-point ball into the penalty area where Callum Kennedy jumped highest but he headed the ball well wide of the target.
Moments later Francomb got himself on the ball again this time having an effort himself but this one flew over the crossbar and didn't trouble Steve Mildenhall in the Rovers goal.
Both sides pressed deep into injury time but neither side could break the stalemate. Up next for Rovers is the visit of Leyton Orient to the Memorial Stadium on Monday (28th December) before Darrell Clarke's side host Luton Town at the Mem on 2nd January.
Wimbledon: Shea; Fuller (C), Robinson, Osborne, Meades; Francomb, Bulman, Reeves, Barcham (Kennedy - 79); Taylor (Rigg - 79), Akinfenwa (Elliott - 71).
Unused Substitutes: McDonnell (GK), Azeez, Fitzpatrick, Sweeney.
Rovers: Mildenhall, J. Clarke (Leadbitter - 46), Lockyer, McChrystal (C), Brown; Bodin, Mansell, O. Clarke, Gosling (Montano - 64); Taylor, Harrison (Gaffney - 71).
Unused Substitutes: Preston (GK), Parkes, Broom, Easter.