Tuesday 26 June 2012
Your AFC Wimbledon: an FA Trophy upset that stunned Terry
The official website has been publishing your magic moments from the past decade to celebrate 10 years of AFC Wimbledon.
A fantastic range of responses from the Dons faithful has included memories from our early years, promotion-clinching matches, and one or two more quirky tales from fans about how they celebrated success. Today, we turn the clock back five-and-a-half years to a day when AFC Wimbledon caused a big FA Trophy upset - and left our current manager Terry Brown with particularly painful memories! The match also featured our recent signing Curtis Osano, who had a spell on loan at Aldershot as a youngster.
As the then Aldershot manager in the Conference, Terry admits he was left stunned by Dave Anderson's men as Ryman Premier Wimbledon knocked out a side two divisions above them on Saturday, 16 December, 2006, with a 2-1 win, thanks to goals from Chris Gell and Scott Fitzgerald. It provided a special memory for David Hall, who has been a Wimbledon supporter for over 40 years. Though he basked in the glory at Manchester in 2011, David says the Aldershot match was just as memorable in a different way as it was reminiscent of the old Wimbledon and the Crazy Gang spirit.
David said: "The date 21 May, 2011 in Manchester, coincided with my 50th birthday. That had to be destiny! However, the Dons reputation of old was built on acts of giantkilling and so I’ve selected what I think was one of our first major upsets – away to Aldershot in the FA Trophy. Some might say that the match at Sutton in the Surrey Senior Cup two seasons before was an equally noticeable scalp - also against a side two levels above us - but since I was at home being sick as a dog that evening I don’t count that one. When we played Aldershot, they were managed by a certain Terry Brown and were riding high in the Conference, two levels above us, and it was a great day."
It was very much a family occasion for David and taking his son Alexander to the match even caused him to miss Chris Gell's equalising goal in the second-half. However, he was able to relive that superb strike by viewing footage from a Dons Online video.
"The build-up to the Aldershot game was great," he added. "We went by train; my father-in-law Dennis, my son Alexander, my brother Brian, and a few mates. We had a drink or two in the pub across from the ground and there was a buzz of anticipation. There was a belief that this time it would be our day after defeat to Exeter in the FA Cup Fourth Qualifying Round. It had been raining heavily and the steep, muddy path down through the trees to the terraces was more than a little treacherous for poor old Dennis. Arriving in the big old echoing cowshed – a throwback to memories of the Plough Lane West Bank – the atmosphere was crackling.
"My recollections of the match are a bit vague, but it looked like we would get to the interval intact until their big centre forward, John Grant, scored just before the break. Undaunted, the lads came out with renewed vigour in the second period. Inevitably, I missed the equalising goal as I was escorting Alexander back from the toilet, though there was no doubt from the roar which team had scored it. With the benefit of the good old Dons Online, I was able to relive Chris Gell’s miraculous recovery and swerving drive over and over again. The second from Scott Fitzgerald came a few minutes later – which I did see - and suddenly it all seemed possible. The last half hour, including seven minutes of stoppage time was backs-to-the-wall stuff. Andy Little in goal was in remarkable form. But we hung on in there and the explosion of sheer relief at the final whistle was immense. In a season racked with controversy, the Aldershot match stood out as a highlight. The giantkillers were back."
Unfortunately, AFC Wimbledon were expelled from the FA Trophy and docked 18 points for fielding Jermaine Darlington without international clearance. However, that never took the shine off a wonderful day for David and his family.
To read a full match report from the Aldershot match, click on FA Trophy upset.