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Wednesday 18 February 2004
Premier Challenge Cup

AFC Wimbledon    5 - 0    Raynes Park Vale
Andy Sullivan (25)
Ryan Gray (28)
Gavin Bolger (59)
Noel Frankum (74)
Kevin Cooper (90)
 Lee Carroll 1 Elliot Hind 
(sub 70)  Steve Gibson 2 Rob Toulson 
 Darren Dobinson 3 Stefan Perkins 
 Danny Oakins 4 Lee Cox 
(sub 37)  Matt Everard 5 Doug Morrow 
 Andy Sullivan 6 Joe Victor ( 1) 
(sub 62)  Seb Favata 7 Steve Scott-Lee 
( 7)  Gavin Bolger 8 Danny Stevens ( 14) 
 Paul Scott 9 Jay Taylor 
 Kevin Cooper 10 Ben Roberts (sub 58) 
 Ryan Gray 11 Michael Schofield (sub 58) 
(sub 70)  Simon Bassey 12 Aaron Saxton (sub 58) 
 Matt Martin 13  
(sub 62)  Noel Frankum 14 Dean Lemmie (sub 58) 
(sub 37)  Paul Quinn 15 Paul Jenkins (sub 72) 
 Michael Harvey 16 Ed Cornwell 

Match report

After Terry Eames, inaugural AFC Wimbledon manager was dismissed from his job, the team made it through to a semi-final for the first time with the customary comfortable victory against their nearest rivals.

An aggressive opening for the visitors saw two players have their name taken early by the referee. Joe Victor set the tone with a blatant hack on Favata and was followed into the book by Danny Stevens. A blank scoresheet after 25 minutes was the result of this defensive determination and the first goal came from innocuous beginnings. A throw-in from the left bounced through the defence and Kevin Cooper scampered in front of his marker. He showed good awareness to square the ball for Andy Sullivan to smash home gleefully.

Shortly afterwards, a Dons corner was only half-cleared. As Seb Favata attempted to dribble the ball back into the area, the ball bounced up and struck a Raynes Park Vale arm. The referee awarded a penalty and Ryan Gray stepped up to slot it home low to the keeper's left.

The Dons continued to stroke the ball around well and good work by an overlapping Gavin Bolger teed up Sullivan, but his shot was blocked.

At the other end, the crowd feared the worst following a three-way collision between Matt Everard, Lee Carroll and a Raynes Park attacker. Everard stayed down for several minutes and was eventually stretchered off. Fortunately, it turned to be simply a trapped nerve. Paul Quinn came on at centreback for the second home game in succession.

In the second half, Wimbledon controlled the game totally. Just before the hour Paul Scott put in some excellent work on the right wing and cut the ball back. The cross eluded Cooper, but Bolger collected it on the edge of the box and blasted it into the roof of the net. Scott then set Cooper free, but he was denied as he bore down on goal by a last-ditch challenge from Toulson. Danny Oakins then bundled the ball into the net but the referee awarded a freekick.

Steve Gibson was poleaxed heading the ball clear and made way for Simon Bassey, though he avoided suffering lasting damage. Kevin Cooper then turned provider once more with 16 minutes remaining. His perfectly weighted pass set substitute Noel Frankum clear and Frankum had all the time in the world to steady himself and pick his spot. This time, his goal celebration only involved a twenty yard sprint.

Another fruitless encounter with the Dons was summed up for Raynes Park Vale by Dean Lemmie's long range effort, which flew horrifically wide.

As the full-time whistle neared, Scott was dragged down on the edge of the area by Toulson. Oakins stepped up and floated a tree-kick to the far post. Scott's header would probably have gone in anyway, but having turned provider so often of late, Cooper took no chances and tapped it in.

It was a professional performance from the whole squad and ensured that on-field matters remained unaffected by off-field events. An away trip to Coney Hall or Southall beckons in the semi-finals.

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