North Greenford United 1 - AFC Wimbledon 2
THE Dons' inexperienced side had enough in the tank to overcome terrible conditions and a persistent North Greenford side to record a 2-1 win in the league encounter.
Standing water and torrential rain made life difficult in the first half, but this was when the Dons played their best football. Rob Hill swung in an excellent corner for Paul Quinn to head home on just 15 minutes. 11 minutes later, Shane Small-King flicked a Paul Quinn pass past his man, nutmegged him again for fun and sent a curling shot dipping over the keeper and inside the far post for 2-0.
At the other end, Matt Martin proved himself to be in good form on his return from a loan period for Whyteleafe, coming out well to clear and making some fine close range shots to preserve the half-time lead.
The rain stopped, but the Dons were rather more sedentary in the second-half. The unlucky Simon Bassey collected a knee injury which seems almost certain to rule him out of a place in the Cup Final squad, but Matt Everard, Seb Favata and Danny Oakins all spent time on the pitch as substitutes without incident. Striker for the night Andy Sullivan was unlucky not to get on the end of a Small-King square ball, while SSK himself rounded the keeper and was upended, but a goal-kick was the result.
North Greenford came into the game more and were good value for a goal ? Martin finally beaten by an excellent hooked volley from Waleed Maisery on 87 minutes.
There was still time for Everard to be forced to head over his own bar and the impressive Joe Hill to complete a good game at right-back by clearing off the line after a corner had sailed over Martin.
The Dons held out to complete the victory, and despite the conditions, several of the reserve team's youngsters showed that they have matured well after a challenging first season in the Suburban League. But with both sides resting the majority of the likely starters for Friday's Cup Final clash, it will be a very different game at Woking.