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Saturday 14 December 2002
Combined Counties League Premier Division

AFC Wimbledon    2 - 1    Sandhurst Town
Kevin Cooper (34)
Lee Passmore (44)
  (21) James Smith
 Glyn Shimell 1 Paul Cann 
(sub 46)  Mark Nicholas 2 Colin Bland 
( 86) ( 86) ( 49)  Sean Daly 3 Lee Crozier 
( 81)  Danny Oakins 4 Darren Wilson 
 Tony Readings 5 Mark Fairminer (sub 75) 
 Lee Sidwell 6 Errol Hutchings 
 Lee Passmore 7 James Smith (sub 63) 
(sub 70)  Neil Robson 8 Coiln Hutchings 
 Joe Sheerin 9 Mark Anderson 
(sub 60)  Kevin Cooper 10 Peter Mulvaney 
 Andy Sullivan 11 Grant Nesbitt ( 71) 
(sub 46)  Keith Ward 12 Kevin Brown 
(sub 70)  Gavin Bolger 14 Steve Stairs (sub 75) ( 81) 
(sub 60)  Andy Petty 15 Steve Obe (sub 63) 

Match report by Matt Sandy.

An Father Christmas was smiling on Wimbledon fans on an upbeat December afternoon at Kingsmeadow, as their team chalked up a fourth straight win. Whilst Santa may have brought the team good luck, he also brought the bitterly cold Laplandic weather to South London, resulting in a smallish attendance of 2,662.

Enough of the pre match faffing and dodgy Santa puns, on to the action! Or lack of it, to be frank. An unchanged Wimbledon team struggled to get into their stride, the defence in particular gifting Sandhurst several presentable opportunities in the opening moments.

James Smith in particular - the flame haired, flame nosed right winger caused all sorts of problems. And so it came to pass, with twenty minutes gone a long ball arched over the top of the static Nicholas and Readings for Rudolph himself to lob exquisitely home. Since when exactly have opposition teams been allowed to score great goals at Kingsmeadow? I feel a Three Man Commission coming on.

Alas for Sandhurst, the spirit of giving which had so overwhelmed the Wimbledon team in the early stages was not to last. The Dons began to get into their rhythm (more Cliff Richard or Johnny Mathis than Bing Crosby, admittedly, but it was a start) and carved (geddit?) out some reasonable chances on goal.

Some good play out on the left by Skippy (sometimes also known as Sully) and new boy Daly created a couple of half chances for Cooper and Robson. The crowd were not to be denied at least some Christmas cheer however, as an excellent through ball put Cooper in on goal only for a mixture of two defenders to haul him down just outside the area.

The referee, in town for a role in the local pantomime, adopted a Scrooge like position and flatly refused to send either of the Sandhurst players off. It made little difference though, as the Sandhurst wall got their Bible stories all mixed up and The Parting of the Red Sea II allowed Cooper to shoot tamely through the wall and into the centre of the goal.

Much like elderly relatives at Yuletide, AFCW goals often arrive in packs. The second came from another good move down the left; Cooper beat the keeper only to see his shot cleared off the line but Passmore was there to prod the ball home. Rejoice!

Halftime came and went, as did any chance of another festive cuppa. Uncle Keith Ward dropped in for the second half replacing the off colour Saint Nick (not to be confused with, etc...).

Now Wimbledon began to really exert control over the game. Wave and wave of attacks almost constantly threatened to extent the lead and put the game out of reach. The quality of Sheerin and Sullivan combined often to create flowing moves that all too often failed at the last hurdle. A goal scored from a poor final ball is as rare as a baby born of a vir... ok, think we'll leave that there.

On the hour mark, Coops got a well deserved rest and Andrew Petty got his chance. He linked well with Sully and Sheerin and it seemed only a matter of time before the third goal came. Gavin Bolger made his return shortly afterwards and showed some promise.

However, Petty's competitive streak led to several confrontations and the whole game turning nasty. As the ref became more and more erratic, Daly got sent off for kicking the ball away. Bah! Humbug!

Sadly, the fact remains that unless our players can stop acting like petulant kids there'll be a lot more suspensions where that one came from.

The match pretty much fizzled out after that, Sandhurst didn’t have a single chance in the second half and the 10 men of Wimbledon pretty much concentrated on defending. The final whistle came as a relief to most people within the ground.

So, another game, another win, another three points, another feeling that we should’ve won by more. Surely not another Christmas related gag? Ho ho ho..

MAN OF THE MATCH: Andy Sullivan.

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