AFC Wimbledon and Rochdale earnt a share of the spoils at Plough Lane as they played out a relegation battle for the ages under the floodlights that was filled with drama, agony and ecstasy.
There was one surprise change to the Wimbledon starting eleven as Ollie Palmer came in up top for Ryan Longman, who dropped to the bench to make way for the towering frontman.
Whist for Rochdale there was three changes as Jim McNulty, Conor Shaughnessy and Matty Done came in for Stephen Dooley, Aaron Morley and Paul McShane.
An early chance for the Dons came about quickly in the opening stages as Will Nightingale headed wide from a corner as the hosts looked to start on the front foot, with their forward players pressing well in the final third.
Rochdale then had their first chance of the evening as a headed effort from Gabriel Osho came in from a free kick, with the resulting effort flying well off target.
Then came a great cross up the other end from Joe Pigott, which picked out Ayoub Assal running in, but the youngster could only loop his header over the bar from mid-range inside the penalty box.
The link up between Jack Rudoni and Nesta Guinness-Walker down the left hand side was causing problems for Rochdale, with the Dons getting the ball wide at every opportunity.
Another chance for the home side then went begging as Pigott headed over a Luke O’Neill corner from close range.
Rochdale then went up the other end on the counter attack, with a pacey move ending in Jimmy Keohane shooting just wide of the far post as the away side grew into the game.
And it was the visitors who took the lead in bizarre circumstances as Jake Beesley scrambled home after Wimbledon failed to deal with a corner.
It was slightly against the run of play but in the end Dale went in ahead at the break after making the most of the few opportunities that came their way in the first 45 minutes.
Wimbledon almost claimed a fortuitous equaliser at the start of the second half as O’Neill’s whipped cross struck the top of the crossbar with Jay Lynch stranded.
However after a bright start for the hosts, Dale doubled their lead against the run of play as a long throw found the head of Osho who creeped into the area unmarked to finish well into the far corner as Wimbledon again switched off from a set piece.
The home side didn’t take long to bounce back from that setback however as Rudoni was found in the box by a brilliant cross from Assal, who did well to win the ball back initially, to head home.
Wimbledon had their confidence rejuvenated by that goal and it was soon 2-2 as another O’Neill cross caused havoc, with two Dale players colliding with each other in the penalty area to pave the way for Palmer to finish from close range.
Rochdale then almost retook the lead as Beesley saw his header well saved by Nik Tzanev at the near post.
However from the resulting corner they did find the goal they were looking for as Wimbledon once again failed to deal with a routine delivery, with the ball being headed on to Keohane at the back post who finished calmly as the pendulum swung the way of the visitors once again.
There was then a fantastic defensive block from the Dale backline as the Dons came forward again, with second half substitute Ryan Longman seeing his shot charged down from close range in dramatic fashion.
The game then had even more drama added to the mix as Wimbledon were handed a penalty for a foul on Palmer, Pigott then stepped up from the spot and saw his effort saved well by Lynch, with the ball not far enough in the corner.
You would have been forgiven for thinking that the scoring would have ended there, however the home side weren’t finished.
A curling cross from Cheye Alexander found that man Pigott at the back post, who swept home an emphatic half volley to leave the Rochdale contingent desolate and the Wimbledon masses jubilant as they earnt a share of the points in the most dramatic of circumstances after a rollercoaster game which had everything.
FULL TIME: AFC Wimbledon 3-3 Rochdale