Bedfont Town 1–1 AFC Wimbledon
(AFC Wimbledon win 3–2 on penalties)
Two months to the day since those joyous scenes at the City of Manchester Stadium, Wimbledon again emerged victorious with silverware from a penalty shoot-out. On this occasion they lifted the John Morris Memorial Trophy, named after the Dons’ former reserve team boss, after being spot-on against a Bedfont side managed by former favourite and record goalscorer Kevin Cooper.
Southern League Bedfont tested a mixed Dons line-up of first-team squad members and youngsters, as Director of Youth Nigel Higgs and Reserves boss Marcus Gayle watched for emerging talent that could potentially bolster manager Terry Brown’s ranks. Goalkeeper Jack Turner was supported by a back four of Ryan Jackson, Dawayne Campbell, skipper Brett Johnson and Chris Bush. Promising Jake Rose got another run-out and had Robert Appiah, Reece Jones and Frankie Merrifield for company in the middle, with Jerson Dos Santos and Christian Jolley up front.
Bush gave Wimbledon the lead after 18 minutes. A ball coming in from the left eventually fell to the former Brentford defender, who shot low for the opener. The pattern of the game changed on 27 minutes when Johnson lost possession when attempting to bring the ball out from the left, and Gabriel Odunaike broke through on the other side of the pitch from the resultant counter-attack to level past Turner.
For the rest of the half, and also for the second period, the equaliser gave Bedfont the confidence to take the game to the youthful Dons, amid the constant roar of plane engines overhead –Bedfont’s Orchard ground sits at the end of Heathrow’s main runway. Another former Wimbledon striker, Reggie Savage, became a menace to the Dons’ defence after coming on as a substitute in the second half.
The outright winner of the trophy was decided by going straight to penalties when the 90 minutes were up – not quite as dramatic as the shoot-out at Eastlands, and in front of a very much smaller crowd. Turner was the goalkeeping hero this time, saving the hosts’ first two efforts, and Savage blazed the third over the bar. Arafat and Wayne O’Sullivan both netted for Bedfont, but although Rose with the second and Dos Santos with the fourth both failed, Jones, Turner (turned penalty-taker for the third) and Bush, with the final kick, delivered pre-season honours for Wimbledon.
AFC Wimbledon: Turner, Jackson, Campbell (Girdler 46), Johnson B (Gordon 60), Bush, Appiah, Jones, Merrifield, Rose, Dos Santos, Jolley (Mendy 60).
Sub not used: Johnson H
Bedfont Town: Ross, L. Cooper, Mitchell, O’Brien, Goode, Brewer, Sealey, Fletcher, Odunaike, Pinnock, Nankani.
Subs: Scott, Savage, O’Sullivan, White, Ferguson, Arafat, Ward, Corani, King, Carter.