The Dons put out a strong side to kick-off their Bryco Cup campaign at home to Flackwell Heath and did enough to secure an untroubled if less than flamboyant win.
The goals may have come from the penalty spot and a late, late corner, but in truth the Dons were always in command. Flackwell were dogged and determined in defence, but seemed rather more concerned with stopping the Dons than mounting any attacks of their own. For their part, Wimbledon strung together some good passages of play but rarely hit the heights when confronting the red sea in front of them.
Matt Everard returned to first-team action and Dave Anderson left Robert Ursell, Chris Gell and Ryan Gray on the bench, with Michael Woolner, Jon-Barrie Bates and Gavin Bolger coming in in their stead. Woolner slotted in at left back, but the Dons formation was unfamiliar early on, with Steve Butler pushed into midfield and Bolger seemingly just off the front two in a 4-3-1-2 formation
Although Wimbledon started the stronger of the two sides, they were unable to carve out many chances. Butler drove horribly over from distance and away keeper McCarthy came out to claim the ball well on a couple of occasions. Despite containing the Dons adequately, Flackwell offered little themselves. Their best chance was a Glynn curler easily held by a nonchalant Naisbitt.
A last-ditch challenge for Flackwell denied McDowall a clear shooting opportunity as the home side continued to press. The young striker then wriggled free but was denied by a smart block from McCarthy.
Just when it seemed as though half-time would arrive goalless after a fairly moribund opening period, Flackwell conspired to hand the Dons an opening. Martin Randall was unceremoniously hacked down as he attempted to lay the ball off just inside the penalty area and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Randall himself stepped up, took an almighty long run-up and buried the ball into the bottom corner for 1-0 with 39 minutes gone.
That sparked the game briefly into life, as Flackwell mounted a rare attack, but Naisbitt came out to claim Glynn?s freekick. Mason was then booked for a late challenge. McDowall set off in pursuit of a chipped ball over the top as half-time loomed, but was brought to a halt by a flag for offside which was surprising, to say the least.
The second half started in much the same vein as the first had ended: slow paced but with the Dons on top. McCarthy raced out twice to deny Randall before being left on the ground as he came off worse after a hefty collision with Butler. As Flackwell scrambled the ball away, the referee halted play to allow the goalkeeper to receive treatment.
Jason Bowler departed the scene on a stretcher and was replaced by Derek Payne as Flackwell mounted a couple of attacks, but Naisbitt was hardly troubled. Ursell and Gray replaced Gibson and Roddis before McDowell went close from a corner. Everard was nudged in the back as he went up to head a freekick goalwards, but got up without a murmur with the referee seeming uninterested.
As Flackwell were forced to attack and chase the game, there was finally some space for the Dons to exploit. With 15 minutes remaining Ursell tricked into the area. His cross fell to Randall, who teed up Bolger, but the shot was blocked by a flying defender. Glynn drew another save from Naisbitt with a low shot from the edge of the area, which the Dons keeper held easily.
McDowall and Ursell combined well on the break, but the move foundered on a lack of understanding between McDowall and Randall. At the other end, substitute Younes fizzed a low shot at goal which Naisbitt deflected unconvincingly clear.
With two minutes remaining the result was put beyond doubt as Butler sent a bullet header into the roof of the net from a Gray corner.
Gray himself perhaps should have given the scoreline a flattering edge, but his low drive when set up as the free man by Ursell was well saved down low by McCarthy. Finally, Joe Paris got a fleeting taste of first-team action when he replaced Bolger as the Dons sailed through a fairly untroubled injury-time period and into the Second Round.