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Monday 28 May 2012
Magic moments: winning an eight-goal thriller at Chessington

AFC Wimbledon fan Sam Griggs selected our thrilling 5-3 victory at Chessington and Hook United as his most memorable during the past 10 years.

After being 3-1 down with just 15 minutes to go, doubles from Kevin Cooper and Ryan Gray were the magical moments that Sam remembers as the majority of the 1,001 crowd went home happy. But the Dons travelling army watched a match that will also be remembered for all the wrong reasons. Both sides ended the match with nine men, Gareth Graham and Shane Small-King the men dismissed for Wimbledon, and then Wimbledon manager Nicky English was sent to the stands.

Sam, a 19-year-old student at Nottingham University, who hails from Orpington, Kent, started following the Dons as a season ticket holder at Selhurst Park. He said: "Chessington and Hook away in season 2003/04 is the most memorable for me. Being 2-0 down after three minutes, including a silly Matt Everard own goal, then watching Shane and Gareth get sent off, and coming back to win 5-3, I loved every minute of it. A youngster at the time, I still remember pretty much the whole game! Paying to walk through a fence into a park, to stand on the other side of a small railing, those were the good old days!"

The Dons had fallen 2-0 down after just three minutes, an uncharacterstic own goal from AFC Wimbledon favourite Matt Everard not helping our cause, but Paul Quinn got one back. Though Chessington extended their advantage, Wimbledon produced a fightback that lives long in the memory, both Kevin Cooper's goals coming from the penalty spot.
Current first-team coach Simon Bassey, who played in the match, admits he cannot claim to have played a big part as he was substituted with 20 minutes left. "I hate to admit it, but it was a good tactical substitution," he said. "I softened them up a bit I reckon! I remember that it was played on a horrendous pitch and we were wearing a white kit that you may as well have put in the bin at the end. In a way though, they were normal games in those days as we always got ourselves out of trouble. We had a good spirit about us and had players used to playing at a higher level who could get us back into it if we had not started right."

Season ticket holder Mick Gibbs also chose the match as his favourite since following AFC Wimbledon. "My most memorable game was the Chessington and Hook game in our second season," he said. "Four players were sent off, along with our manager and physio. Two goals down in five minutes, yet we still won 5-3, you could write a book on this game alone."

To read a full report from the official website of that match, click here.