Raynes Park Vale 2 ? 3 AFC Wimbledon
With barely any time to celebrate completing the double, the Dons had to set their minds back on the league in order to preserve the unbeaten run. The venue was switched to Gander Green Lane, thankfully somewhere with a lot of cover than Grand Drive, especially as it had been bucketing down since the early hours. Nevertheless, the faithful Dons support was a fairly big turnout in the dubious conditions and also at the much early 11.30am KO.
The cup final strike partnership were replaced by the cup-tied SSK, and Jones Bamfo came in for his first full start. Graham stepped into midfield for the injured Bolger.
AFC Wimbledon started off the much brighter in the early stages, SSK seeming to be part of every attack even though all the RPV defenders wanting a piece of his shirt. The opening goal came in the 11th minute when the Dons were given a freekick just outside the box. Graham took it and hit the wall, only for it to bobble out into Everard?s path and he struck home.
That goal seemed to be the start of another usual five goal romp against the Vale, but as the game went on, they started to get back in. They gave a scare when Oakins slipped, letting in their No.9 down the right, he squared for the No.7 to blaze over when he should at least hit the target. Soon after they did equalise in more-or-less the same manner that they missed the previous chance. A ball hit over the top, Oakins misjudged the ball and that let the No.9 down the right flank to square a dangerous ball to No.10, Dean Lemmie to simply tap in. There was one more chance to go back into the lead before halftime. Graham was sent down the left, cut back onto his right before unleashing a devilish shot heading towards the top right corner, but unluckily the keeper tipped it out for a corner.
At halftime, Jamie Taylor replaced Bamfo. However, it was RPV who took the lead early into the half. Again it was Lemmie who beat Gibson for the ball, cut inside and beat Sidwell and then tucked away the ball past Standen. Great solo goal that was applauded by the Dons fans. The lead lasted all of five minutes when on 54mins, the Dons pressed and got a corner. Gray?s poor corner was only half cleared to RPV No.5, Auvil Fyffe, who?s attempt at further clearing the ball resulted in a brilliant headed own goal into the top left corner.
Not even this gave the Dons any emphasize to go on and seal the game. Gray and Graham were taken off and replaced by Cooper and Lewis Taylor who both seemed like they wanted to keep clean. At this time the pitch was extremely cut-up and suggested that the game probably wouldn?t have taken place had the KO been 3pm. The fans though were kept amused by the ball sticking in the mud, Sids relentless ambition to prove that dribbling through the mud is possible, and the attempts at playing fancy balls when simple balls down the flanks were the obvious answer. Not to forget RPV playing the last minutes of the match with a hobbling keeper to add to the excitement.
SSK had hardly been in the second half in total reverse of his first half performance, and switched to the left flank when Coops came on. Fortunately his most telling contribution on 83mins was sublime to say the least. He received the ball on the left flank cut inside and fired a ferocious shot into the top right corner. He may not be a great goalscorer like King Kev, but he certainly must be a scorer of great goals. That?s another one to add to his collection from Westfield and North Greenford. He even had time to try and double his tally late on, when wriggling away from his TWO markers, he shot into the side netting with only the keeper to beat.
To add to the humour, the players felt that Coops was still impeccably clean for their liking, so at the final whistle they dragged him through the mud so to speak ? hair, face and all.