JORDAN Clark’s ninth goal of the season earned Stanley a precious point in their battle to retain their League One status away to fellow strugglers AFC Wimbledon – but John Coleman’s side could have taken all three points.

Outplayed and overwhelmed for the first 30 minutes, Clark capitalised on poor defending to cancel out Joe Pigott’s opener for the Dons. But Stanley wasted the chance to move four points above the bottom four when leading scorer Billy Kee fired wide from the penalty spot four minutes before the break.

Nonetheless, having ended a run of three consecutive defeats, Coleman’s side sit two clear of the relegation zone and, perhaps crucially, have a game in hand over five of the seven teams below them.

It was arguably only down to a little good fortune and good goalkeeping by Dimitar Evtimov, Stanley survived the Dons’ early onslaught, as the south-west London side could have been out of sight in this game before half-time.

First the Bulgarian brilliantly saved Toby Sibbock’s powerful drive, before he somehow kept out Paul Kalambayi’s shot from point-blank range from the following corner.

From Evtimov’s parry the ball bounced around the Stanley box and, luckily for the visitors, a deflection off Ben Richards-Everton went wide of the post.

In another scare for Stanley, powerful striker James Hanson saw his 20-yard volley deflected just wide from Scott Wagstaff’s headed flick.

But just as it appeared that the hosts’ early pressure was decreasing, Pigott opened the scoring on 21 minutes, leaving Evtimov no chance with a fine strike into the bottom corner.

However, out of nowhere, Stanley were gifted an equaliser 11 minutes before the break. Having played his side into trouble with a poor headed clearance seconds earlier, Kalambayi’s under hit back-pass was intercepted by Clark who slid the ball past Aaron Ramsdale.

Stanley then wasted a golden chance to take the lead on 41 minutes as referee Neil Hair controversially adjudged that Dons midfielder Wagstaff had fouled Paul Smyth, who had earlier been booked for simulation in the box. Kee’s poor penalty spared the hosts and ensured the sides were level at the break, while Smyth was replaced at half-time by Sam Finley.

There was slightly less one-way traffic to begin the second half, although Hanson saw his deft chip over Evtimov bounce inches wide of the post after he raced to meet Anthony Hartigan’s through ball on 51 minutes.

Again, Stanley neutralised the Dons’ physical presence, although they rarely threatened their defence. Substitute Finley came the closest to winning it for the visitors with a 25-yard strike that narrowly went over, while Sean McConville blazed into the side netting.

Referee Hair’s lively afternoon wasn’t done, however. To the dismay of Stanley players, he booked goalscorer Clark 20 minutes from time for simulation in the box after he appeared to be wiped out as he was about to shoot.

Nonetheless, with home games against relegation-threatened Rochdale and Walsall this week, this point continues to ensure that Stanley’s fate to secure League One safety rests in their hands.