Report by Steve Elson
The yellow shirted hordes turned up to Kingsmeadow for the first time this season to see their newly adopted home. Of course it was nominally an away game but once again AFC Wimbledon brought their born-again football passion to a non-league friendly and filled four sides of the ground.
There was a strange atmosphere before the game as a Football Focus camera crew mingled with the lucky AFC Wimbledon fans who had managed to get a drink from the under-staffed bar. More faces from the past re-introduced themselves to each other and told each other that it was just like Plough Lane. Of course Plough Lane will never be recreated but there was an instant feeling that this could serve as our home until our spiritual home can be reclaimed.
The game itself went to plan as Rymans Premier League side Ks dominated the opening stages and were good value for their 1-0 halftime lead. Wimbledons cause was not helped when crowd favourite Trigger went off with two broken ribs. It was clear that Kingstonians were in no mood to be charitable to their new tenants and AFC Wimbledon knew that they would have to earn a result. There were signs though that Wimbledon were beginning to gel as a side with recent signings Cooper and Bassey showing their class.
The Wimbledon crowd itself was quiet in the first half as they got used to their new home and even resorted to the dreaded Mexican wave for a while to pep itself up. The second half was to be noisier and the team looked ready to respond.
For a friendly it was very competitive and there were a few flashes of temper from both sides. Kingstonian scored again and another beating looked possible but Wimbledon responded well and scored through the irrepressible Dave Fry after impressive work form young front man Daniel Jones. The goal lifted the crowd to new heights who in turn inspired the team to their best performance so far as they hunted for what would have been a deserved equaliser. The atmosphere reached cup-tie proportions and a groan went up as the referee blew his whistle after yet another Wimbledon corner was cleared. A roar of appreciation swiftly replaced the groan followed by a well-deserved burst of applause as Wimbledon trudged disappointedly off the pitch. Disappointed that they hadnt quite matched a team three divisions above them in the non-league pyramid which is a measure of their ambition.