AFC Wimbledon 4 Frimley Green 0
A one-sided encounter yielded the Dons a comfortable victory without quite hitting the heights of previous performances.
Frimley Green set their stall out with nine behind the ball in two lines and signalled their intention to play for the draw, or at least damage limitation, right from the start. Purdy was left on his upfront to forage for scraps and they created few openings of note all evening.
But they did successfully frustrate the Dons, defending in depth and strung out across the park, yielding possession in favour of holding a line and hoofing the ball as far forward or over a stand as possible at every available opportunity.
But patient play reaped its rewards as the Dons were still able to carve out chances. Kevin Cooper saw a header ruled out for offside before a move reminiscent of Brazil?s fourth goal in the 1970 Word Cup final. As Cooper crossed, Ryan Gray ran onto the ball in the Carlos Alberto role, and hit a shot more reminiscent of Roberto Carlos. It screamed against the woodwork and clear. Being charitable, Millard may have got a touch on it. He undeniably got a touch on his own post and was forced to play the rest of the game with a dislocated thumb.
As Frimley continued to defend in depth and Sullivan saw a lot of the ball on the right wing, Cooper twice went close and a Gibson cross was nearly turned into his own net by a Frimley defender. It was 23 minutes before the visitors managed a shot on goal ? sent high, wide and anything but handsome by Purdy.
On 37 minutes Danny Oakins was upended in the box as he ran across goal. But a poor low penalty from Cooper after an extraordinarily long run-up was well saved by Millard. The breakthrough was a little fortunate, a mishit Bolger shot causing confusion as it bounced up and Oakins leapt to head home for a 1-0 half-time lead.
On 60 minutes Cooper atoned for his penalty blunder, peel off his man on the outside from a Sullivan cross, cutting back inside and placing the ball beyond Millard for a fine goal.
A small fracas followed when the Frimley defenders accused Cooper of diving ? Wade Falana, just on as substitute, was booked for his involvement as a peacekeeping force. A scrappy second-half saw the Dons dominate without creating too many clear-cut chances. Millard saved well from Falana and the visitors switched to 4-4-2 with fifteen minutes remaining in a final effort to get back in terms.
But rapidly tiring defensive legs allowed the Dons to double their advantage. First Gatehouse headed past his own goalkeeper, who fell to the ground clutching his injured hand and then, in injury time, Cooper finished a move from the edge of the box to secure a 4-0 final scoreline that more accurately reflected the Dons territorial advantage and possession. With a corner count of 12-0 and visiting attempts on goal scare in the extreme, it could easily have been more.
But last year one goal was all the Dons could muster past a determined defence, this performance showed how far AFC Wimbledon have come in terms of guile, subtlety, creativity and patience.