Report by Steve Elson
What a difference a year makes. Last July Wimbledon fans were honouring former manager Allen Batsford with a Testimonial Dinner and we were all looking forward to a successful season. Players were promising promotion while the clubs chairman was assuring us that the search for a new ground would start at Plough Lane and work out from there. We had no reason to disbelieve them of course.
A year later and 350 AFC Wimbledon fans are in Edgwares shabby but welcoming ground to see their club play their ninth game for the Allen Batsford Shield. Anyone not following the previous twelve months events could have been forgiven for thinking that AFC Wimbledon were just a new non-league side with above average support. Certainly the team looked nothing special in a borrowed kit but ponder the significance of Allen Batsford attending the game and giving his support to a club formed by supporters. Allen is no romantic and has been in football long enough to spot time-wasters a mile off. He knows that AFC Wimbledon is the real Wimbledon. The next twelve months will prove him and the rest of us right and the doubters wrong.
The match itself was a major disappointment as the AFC Wimbledon that had run Kingstonian so close failed to turn up and gave away two early goals that effectively ended the match. A few players, notably second half substitute Daniel Couch showed flashes of skill but too many first choice players were missing for The Dons to even threaten to get their first result.
The final whistle came as a bit of a relief as the seemingly incessant run of pre-season games was wearying all concerned. Allen bounded down the stand steps to present the eponymous trophy and AFC Wimbledon trudged away to face the wrath of Terry. Where is the first win coming from was the question on many lips? Not from Edgware was the sad answer.