Wycombe Wanderers 0 v Wimbledon 1
Wimbledon are in the FA Cup 3rd round for the first time since the traumas of 2002 after beating Wycombe Wanderers 1-0 on Sunday (7 December).
Back then, the Dons lost out on a 4th round tie against Manchester United after losing a replay against Middlesbrough. They now take their place again among the ‘big boys’ for Monday night’s draw, hoping for another opportunity against clubs of similar stature.
This Wycombe match started with the Dons on the front foot and they nearly took the lead in the opening minute. Barry Fuller’s cross from the right was flicked on by Sean Rigg but Matt Tubbs’ header was just over the crossbar, thwarting what would have been a dream start for the visitors.
And within moments the Dons had appeals for a penalty turned down after Joe Jacobson appeared to foul Tubbs in the box.
Although at the other end James Shea also had to be alert as the hosts started to exert themselves, turning away a deflected effort from Max Kretzschmar, a solid Dons display was matched by occasional threat in the box, as Dannie Bulman illustrated when his goal-bound shot following approach play by Adebayo Akinfenwa was blocked.
Early in the second half the Dons did have the ball in the back of the net, only for Tubbs’ effort to be ruled out for offside, but it was a prelude of what to come as the Dons took the lead in the 56th minute.
Akinfenwa again proved influential, shielding the ball and doing well to pick out George Francomb on the edge of the box, and the former Norwich man showed composure to retain possession of a bobbling ball and tee-up Rigg, who calmly dispatched the ball into the goal with the outside of his right foot.
Predictably, Wycombe came forward seeking the equaliser that their League Two position seemed to justify, but Shea was again in outstanding form, first saving a Josh Scowen drive at full stretch and then being alert to come off his line and thwart Paul Hayes.
The Dons did lose Francomb to injury with just 13 minutes remaining, being replaced by returnee Harry Pell, but in the end they held on fairly comfortably to make sure their name goes into the hat for the draw.
Wimbledon were cheered on by 1,035 travelling fans and manager Neal Ardley gave them credit for their role in the win.
‘They gave me goose bumps because they sang and cheered everything that we did,’ he told the club’s official website.
‘I’m so glad that we’ve got into the 3rd round for them and hopefully we’ll now have something good to look forward to in the next round.’
Before then the Dons return to League Two reality with a trip to York City next Saturday (13 December).
Wycombe: Ingram, Scowen, Jombati, Pierre, Jacobson, Kretzschmar (Ephraim 70), Bloomfield, Murphy, Wood (McClure 83), Hayes, Craig (Amadi-Holloway 66). Subs not used: Lewis, Richardson.
Booked: Pierre 23, Murphy 40.
Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Goodman, Barrett, Kennedy (Harrison 89), Francomb (Pell 77), Moore, Bulman, Rigg (Azeez 77), Tubbs, Akinfenwa. Subs not used: Bennett, Oakley, McDonnell, Sutherland.
Goalscorer: Rigg 56.
Booked: Moore 44, Tubbs 70, Goodman 72, Francomb 76.
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December 8, 2014