171104 Report V AFC Wimbledon

It wasn't to be for The Imps in the FA Cup this season as AFC Wimbledon just edged their way past the battling visitors, who arguably had the better of the tie but a solitary goal from Lyle Taylor early in the first half was enough to take the Dons into Round Two.

Danny Cowley made four changes to the side which drew at home to Crawley Town as The Imps got their 2017/18 FA Cup campaign rolling at the Cherry Red Records Stadium in Kingston Upon Thames.

Spurred on by over 1,000 travelling supporters who were housed alongside the pitch, behind the dugouts of the Cowley brothers, City started brightly but it was the hosts who struck the opening goal of the game. Lyle Taylor darting in on the left hand side of the Imps’ area in AFC Wimbledon’s first meaningful attack to smash a low drive past the despairing dive of Josh Vickers and into the far corner.

The visiting City side wasn’t deterred at all by the early setback as they settled into the game, gradually getting a foothold and looking to return fire as quick as possible. Billy Knott cut in from the left wing, looked up and smashed a shot on target which George Long in the Don’s goal was able to grasp. It was down the left flank that City continued to focus their attacks with Knott’s movement causing problems.

Halfway through the first half it was City who were having the lion’s share of possession as the ball spent much of the time in the opposing half, but solid defending meant chances were few and far between. Taylor had to be replaced by the Dons after he picked up an injury, they replaced him with Jon Meades as they had a tactical reshuffle. The game became a little more attritional, with much of the play taking place in midfield as both sides scrapped for possession.

City attacked quickly down the right, Luke Waterfall playing it into the channel, the Imps took it quickly, Knott dummied, Palmer laid the ball to the edge of the box and Alex Woodyard sidefooted a powerful shot at goal which Long just tipped over.  Up the other end Harry Forrester turned and hit a low shot which crept the right side of the post from a City perspective with the former Rangers player holding his head in his hands. The game really opened up as the half time break approached, a lovely move started when Sean Long burst forward on the overlap, ending with a cross into the box which Matt Green did well to beat his marker but he headed just wide.

Forrester was lively for the Dons and he tested the reflexes of Vickers with the game going into added time at the end of the first half but going in at the break, City will have been relatively happy with their performance despite the scoreline.

Half Time

AFC Wimbledon 1 The Imps 0

City started the second half very positively and were constantly turning the Wimbledon defence to face their own goal, forcing the home rearguard into action as they struggled to contain the re-energised Imps. Ollie Palmer chased a ball back to Long and he forced a mistake from the ‘keeper but unfortunately Knott couldn’t profit.

With City pushing for the equaliser it left a few spaces for the Dons to exploit, and a slide rule ball from Barry Fuller was run onto by Cody McDonald who raced into the box, however, Vickers was equal to the chance with a fine save.

The Imps were dangerous on the break, Palmer raced away into the opposing half and with Darius Charles backing off the Imps striker got his shot away which flashed wide of goal. Moments later, Green took a touch on the edge of the box and turned before shooting over the top with the home side continually being forced backwards and looking decidedly shaky.

A break down the left by Arnold created space for Woodyard, who stepped inside his man to shoot but the effort was blocked as the Imps continued their efforts to restore parity with an hour gone.  City won a corner which was which was whipped in by Knott and with Waterfall just waiting for the ball to come down, the Dons managed to lash it clear from danger.

Knott then wriggled his way into the box, he pulled the ball back to Green who was under close attention from two Don’s defenders but he got his shot away from just inside the box which forced Long into a save.  The Imps continued to pour forward almost at will, the visiting supporters sensed a goal and Arnold was close to getting it, but his shot was blocked the resulting corner caused panic in the Wimbledon box, somehow they managed to clear the danger.

City’s attempts to score the equaliser continued as the rain lashed down going into the final ten minutes, a lovely drifted ball in from Eardley was headed down by Matt Rhead who cushioned it towards Arnold but Long dived in to deny him the chance to slot home.  The home goalkeeper continued to be the busiest of the two on the field as he came quite a distance from goal to punch clear, another ball into the Wimbledon penalty area.  Another cross, this time from the right from Long, looped into the area where Rhead won his battle but it dropped in the six yard box and Wimbledon’s ‘keeper who was relieved to grasp possession of the ball.

The game went into the final minute of the game and City won a corner, everyone aside from Woodyard was in the Don’s penalty area awaiting the ball, Josh Ginnelly swung it in. However what had become a familiar pattern continued as the home side somehow managed to clear under intense pressure bringing and end to City’s FA Cup dream.

Full Time

AFC Wimbledon 1 The Imps 0


AFC Wimbledon 

1          George LONG

2          Barry FULLER

23       Callum KENNEDY

4          Deji OSHILAJA

32       Darius CHARLES

11       Harry FORRESTER

19       Tom SOARES

8          Jimmy ABDOU

10       Cody MCDONALD

33       Lyle TAYLOR

17       Andy BARCHAM


24       Joe McDONNELL

3          Jon MEADES  (28’ for TAYLOR)

6          Paul ROBINSON (86’ for ABDOU)

20       Toby SIBBICK

21       Egli KAJA

26       Anthony HARTIGAN

28       Alfie EGAN



The Imps 

21       Josh VICKERS

2          Sean LONG

5          Luke WATERFALL

8          Ollie PALMER

10       Matt GREEN

11       Billy KNOTT

15       Rob DICKIE

16       Michael BOSTWICK

23       Neal EARDLEY

28       Nathan ARNOLD

30       Alex WOODYARD


1          Paul FARMAN

4          Elliott WHITEHOUSE (83’ for ARNOLD)

7          Josh GINNELLY (85’ for KNOTT)

9          Matt RHEAD (68’ for PALMER)

12       Ellis CHAPMAN

32       Cameron STEWART

33       Daniel HORTON


Attendance: 3394 (1065 Imps’ supporters)

Referee: Andy Woomer

Assistants: C Wade & M Lee