AFC Wimbledon 1 v 0 Lincoln City
AFC Wimbledon will play Charlton Athletic in the second round of the FA Cup after Lyle Taylor’s goal was enough to sneak a 1-0 win against Lincoln City at Kingsmeadow on Saturday (4 November).
The Dons slumped to a 1-0 defeat against Charlton in a recent league encounter at The Valley but will get an early opportunity for revenge when the south London sides compete for the potential to face glamorous Premier League opposition in the third round.
But the Dons made hard work of beating Lincoln, despite taking the lead after just seven minutes. With midfield dynamo Liam Trotter injured, the Dons played a more positive 4-4-2 formation with Taylor partnering Cody McDonald up front.
But after Taylor was withdrawn through injury on the half hour mark, and with limited options on the bench, the Dons were forced to adopt a more defensive stance that became more entrenched as the second half progressed. Indeed, the Dons can be thankful that Lincoln are nearly as impotent in front of goal as Wimbledon have been in recent months.
Afterwards, manager Neal Ardley told the club’s iFollow Dons channel: ‘I think our fans will be proud of the way the players stuck together. Yes, we did not play the most attractive football, but we were there to get into the next round of the FA Cup and that’s the main thing.
‘The game plan went out of the window after Lyle came off injured. We had to change it and we lost our football a little bit. I don’t think they [Lincoln] had many chances, to be honest with you. They scrapped, put bodies up there at the end, but I thought we were calm and defended really well.’
Wimbledon took the lead when McDonald latched on to Barry Fuller’s headed clearance and fed Taylor, who kept calm to clinically slot the ball past Lincoln keeper Josh Vickers from a narrow angle. Tom Soares then saw a shot charged down, before Taylor’s enforced exit. Jon Meades came off the bench to make a return from injury, with Harry Forrester moved from the right flank to lend some support from midfield to McDonald up front.
Lincoln did their best to capitalise before the break, with Alex Woodyard forcing a fingertip save from George Long and Matt Green heading Sean Long’s cross wide. But it was Wimbledon who had the final notable chance of the first period when Forrester forced a save from Vickers.
Vickers was in action again in the second half, saving after McDonald broke through on goal, but as the half progressed the Dons became more and more defensive and the visitors realised they were being presented with opportunities to capitalise. Ollie Palmer, Green (twice), Luke Waterfall, Nathan Arnold and substitute Matt Rhead were amongst those who had efforts thwarted as the visitors attempted to give the 1,100 travelling supporters a goal to celebrate.
But boosted by the introduction of Paul Robinson, the Dons’ defence held firm to their lead and earn that Charlton second-round encounter. More immediately, the Dons host Peterborough United on Sunday 12 November before travelling to Bristol Rovers the following weekend.
Wimbledon: Long, Fuller, Oshilaja, Charles, Kennedy, Forrester, Abdou (Robinson 85), Soares, McDonald, Taylor (Meades 29), Barcham. Subs not used: Sibbick, Kaja, McDonnell, Hartigan, Egan.
Goalscorer: Taylor 7.
Lincoln: Vickers, Long, Dickie, Waterfall, Eardley, Bostwick, Knott (Ginnelly 85), Woodyard, Green, Palmer (Rhead 68), Arnold (Whitehouse 83). Subs not used: Farman, Chapman, Stewart, Horton.
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November 7, 2017