Pagham 0 - 1 AFC Wimbledon
Dons foray into the national competition continued with a second qualifying round visit to Sussex League, Division One, side Pagham. On police advice, Pagham had switched the tie to Sunday, but a thousand or so travelling fans still risked engineering works and packed roads for a day beside the sea, although the atmosphere was more reminiscent of a church than a football match at times.
Matt Everard returned from injury, but Andy Sullivan's suspension and Lee Sidwell's loss of form left Terry with a lop-sided team which he tried to resolve by pushing ever present left-back Steve Gibson into midfield and centre-back cover Jamie Angell moving over to fill the now vacant left-back slot. Simon Bassey came in at right-back in place of the holidaying Darren Dobinson / injured Sean Daly and Ali Russell started up front in place of the injured captain Joe Sheerin.
The early stages were rather tentative, with both sides feeling out the other, but Dons soon took control and the lead when Seb Favata clipped the ball from wide left to the back post, where Everard rose purposefully to head the ball home. Halfway through the period, Gavin Bolger set up a similar move and Ryan Gray crossed for Ali Russell to crash the back post header against the crossbar. This seemed to spur Pagham into life, and two slips in as many minutes by Danny Oakins were both left unpunished. AFC had the ball in the net again on the half-hour with a perfect route-one routine, Bolger flicking on Ray Merry's long punt upfield and Kevin Cooper running through to volley home, but he was adjudged offside. Five minutes before the break Cooper was again unlucky, latching on to a ball bouncing around in the box and flicking it goal-wards, but it was cleared off the line with the 'keeper nowhere. On the stroke of half-time, Ryan Gray's 25 yard free-kick was well held by the 'keeper and the Dons had to make to with a single goal lead at the interval.
The second half started slowly, with neither side creating a chance in the first twenty minutes. And then Simon Bassey saw the mist again. With one of his trademark sliding come blocking tackles, he won the ball fairly and cleared it down the line, however he also bundled over the Pagham player in the challenge, and Bassey ended up on top of him. What happened next depends on which version you listen to - most of the crowd saw Bassey throw a punch at the prostate opponent, but the ref sent him from play for "not allowing his opponent up" (which wouldn't have seemed to warrant the red card, if you ask me). Nevertheless, for the third cup tie in succession, Dons were forced to play out the major part of the second half one man short and on the back foot. Pagham threw on their remaining two allowed substitutes, and almost immediately levelled,  playing in  through the middle, but Oakins atoned for his earlier errors with a fine last-ditch tackle. The players became more frustrated, and Bolger was cautioned for mouthing off at the ref more than once, and  was booked for a nasty swipe at Oakins, who got up, brushed himself down and turned his back. Nice one Danny. With ten minutes to go Eamo threw on Ryan Luffman for his competitive debut, and after  has scythed down Steve Gibson to earn his own place in the book, Ryan found some confidence and beat several Pagham defenders cutting in down the left before his goal-ward shot was blocked for a corner. Three minutes later and it was all over, time for a couple of celebratory pints and to look forward to Monday's First Round Proper draw.