Farnham Town 0 - 4 AFC Wimbledon
Assuming that it?s possible for an amateur team to put in a thoroughly professional performance, AFC Wimbledon did exactly what they set out to do at Farnham?s "quaint" ground on Saturday. Win, win easily, get through the game without accruing any more injuries and firmly put the previous two disappointing results out of their minds.
The fact that they achieved all this, and more, with the minimum of fuss speaks volumes the strength in depth that Terry Eames has given to the squad over the past few months. With Steve Gibson, the previously ever-present Seb Favata and his natural replacement Gareth Graham all out with various ailments, Eames started with Simon Bassey at right back and lifelong Dons fan Micky Fernandes in midfield. Against the second bottom side, Eames had every right to think that this was the perfect opportunity to hand Fernandes his debut and as is very often the case, he wasn?t wrong.
The Dons showed their class from start to finish, the gulf in ability between the top and bottom of the CCL being never more obvious than this. Joe Sheerin had the chance to put the Dons ahead after less than 3 minutes but his lob from the edge of the box was easily saved by McArthur. Lee Sidwell?s header that just went wide was the precursor to a number of Kevin Cooper efforts that the big keeper did well to parry or block, but the Dons didn?t show any signs of frustration and just kept attacking. With 22 minutes gone their patience paid off when Cooper?s perfect chip to the far post was converted by Sheerin for
his 18th league goal of the season.
The Dons fans only had to wait eight more minutes for the game to be put out of Farnham?s reach, if it was ever really in it. A Bassey corner was powered home by Matt Everard in typical fashion. Another fine McArthur save from Cooper denied the striker the chance to show off a message he?d written on his vest, but the half drew to a conclusion with another unnecessary booking for Sheerin. Already facing an 8 day ban for accumiulating five yellow cards, all for dissent, the Dons skipper made it six when he expressed his displeasure at the referee?s decision to award a free kick to Farnham for a home side?s
defender?s two-footed lunge at Sheerin. Bizarre decision though it was, Sheerin?s reaction was over the top and he spent the next five minutes under the influence of a red mist.
It was a matter of how many the Dons would score in the second half and just when they would decide that enough was enough and rest some players. Sheerin departed on 52 minutes to be replaced by eternal sub Paul Scott, and it wasn?t long before the former Whyteleafe man made it 3-0, racing onto a Gavin Bolger throughball and thumping a rising drive past the prone McArthur. Cooper had a couple of efforts blocked but it seemed destined to not be his day when first an attempted curler from 15 yards flew 10 yards over the bar and about 25 yards wide, and then a spectacular volley missed the near post by a matter of inches. Ryan Gray was replaced by Darren Dobinson and Lee Sidwell by Andy Sullivan but the changes made no difference to the way the game was going. Bassey linked up well with Sullivan on the right, Harvey equally well with Dobinson on the left and the Farnham defence had no answer to the Dons attacking prowess. Dobinson and Sullivan were intent on laying chances on a plate for someone, with Fernandes and Bolger failing to make the most of their opportunities. With 25 minutes left, it fell to Cooper to put the seal on the game when he rounded McArthur and slotted into an empty net. The message on his vest read "GET WELL SOON JAN", incidentally.
That was game over In more ways than one. Far from switching off, the Dons cruised through the last few minutes, even allowing Farnham to force a couple of corners, but Lee Carroll can rarely have had a quieter game in his life, and if it weren?t for Danny Oakins? eye-catching new haircut he wouldn?t had merited a mention, so little did he have to do of note.
A perfect riposte to anyone who thought that a draw and a defeat against two good sides represented a crisis. Due to an eye condition that has suddenly worsened, this is the last report I?ll be able to write for God Bless Trigger?s Feet for the foreseeable future. Whoever takes up the reins will struggle to see an easier win than this?
MOTM: Difficult to choose, everyone did their bit with consummate ease, even allowing for Micky Fernandes' difficulty in getting into the game until the Dons were 4-0 up. It?s a close call between Simon Bassey and Gavin Bolger for me, and I?m going to give my last MOTM award to Bass. I did once say that he was a very versatile player as he can get sent off from a variety of positions, but he did nothing wrong and more or less everything right.