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Saturday 16 August 2003
Combined Counties League Premier Division

Feltham    0 - 2    AFC Wimbledon
    (42) Lee Sidwell
(74) Matt Everard
 Amar 1 Tony Smith 
 Lee Benwell 2 Steve Gibson 
 Curran 3 Sean Daly 
 Beaton 4 Danny Oakins 
 Guy Martin 5 Matt Everard 
 Harris 6 Lee Sidwell 
 Brown 7 Seb Favata (sub 59) 
 Glover 8 Gavin Bolger 
 Anthony Clarke 9 Joe Sheerin (sub 75) 
 Edghill 10 Wade Falana 
 Danny Lovett 11 Andy Sullivan (sub 83) 
 Elkes 12 Simon Bassey (sub 59) 
 Simmah 13 Ryan Gray (sub 83) 
 Murphy 14 Kevin Cooper 
 Gallyer 15 Jamie Angell 
 Colin Ryder 16 Darren Dobinson (sub 75) 

Match report

Feltham 0 - 2 AFC Wimbledon

The Dons never really found top gear at Feltham but secured a relatively untroubled if unspectacular victory.

The scrappy plastic pitch was certainly a potential opening day banana skin but the fans? nerves were calmed by a promising opening where the ball rarely seemed to leave the Feltham half.

Right-back debutant Steve Gibson showed a willingness to get forward but it was Sean Daly on the other flank who had the first effort on goal of the new season as his rasping drive was tipped over by Feltham keeper Bechim Amar.

As Seb Favata and Gavin Bolger gradually found the range for their passes and the Dons midfield four began to dominate, a series of attacks foundered on the lack of a cutting edge.
A Joe Sheerin flick-on from a 28th minute free-kick dropped for Danny Oakins but his acrobatic effort sent the ball high and wide. Straight afterwards, a low ball through from Daly saw Sheerin take it wide of the keeper and reach the byline. Andy Sullivan whipped the ball across but Wade Falana?s lunge fell agonisingly short.

The impressive bustling Falana steered a Favata shot home on 33 minutes but the linesman?s offside flag cut the celebrations short.

Just as it seemed the first-half pressure would go unrewarded, Sullivan tackled well on the edge of the Feltham area, jinked his way past three people and cut the ball back. Falana was unable to connect but Lee Sidwell ghosted in behind him to sidefoot the ball home for a 1-0 half-time lead.

In the second-half, the Dons took their foot of the gas a little but the bizarre antics of the increasingly erratic Amar kept the crowd entertained, particularly his extraordinary attempt to head the ball away when his hands would surely have been a better option.

Danny Oakins was often far in advance of his centre-back position and on 58 minutes he found himself through on goal but missed at the near post when a pull-back seemed to be the better option.

Sheerin and Falana combined well throughout and continued to cause problems, with the latter finding the side-netting from close range when it seemed easier to score from a low Bolger cross.

Immediately afterwards, the crucial second goal came. Falana?s attentions caused Amar to drop the ball again and Matt Everard steadied himself and swivelled to power it home.
Darren Dobinson and Ryan Gray both came on for their Dons debuts as the game drew to its close. Despite some clever approach play, a third goal never seemed that likely, but the defence remained largely untroubled and Tony Smith did everything that was asked of him in goal.

Just before the final whistle Simon Bassey tested Amar with a powerfully struck shot from outside the box, but the keeper just managed to gather his own parry.

It was hard to tell much about the team on a pitch which had deteriorated even further since last year, but players and management alike were united in a verdict of ?good, but must do better?.

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