PRE SEASON FRIENDLY
SUTTON UNITED – 1 [Collins 70]
AFC WIMBLEDON – 0
Bollocks it’s hot. But then again, you’d probably noticed that yourselves eh? Got windows in your house no doubt. And you watch the newsweather and stuff. So quite how 2 teams were expected to put on a football match today when even so much as lifting a pint pot left I and the boys exhausted & sweating like an overweight young lady in a discotheque was beyond me.
Whats that? They’re fit? And we’re ever fattening pissheads? Oh yeah. That could be it! Cheers.
The main reason for todays fixture was to celebrate the Amateur Cup Final between the 2 sides at Wembley waaaaay back in 1963. Which was so long agao, even Belly doesn’t really remember it! To help make it a bit more of an ‘occasion’ the club had arranged for the FA to bring down the FA Cup and that old Amateur Cup that the Dons lifted on that day, to GGL. Sadly though, at the last minute, it was decided that the latter was a bit too fragile to make the journey from the National Football museum up in Preston.
So to make it up to us, they rummaged around and dragged along two other bits of tat for us to view.
The first being an exact replica of the Jules Rimet Trophy (The ‘World Cup’ to the less educated), but was actually the one presented to Bobby Moore on THAT day in ‘66. (There’s a story about that, but you’ll have to buy the book about it due out soon…..apparently!) and THE ball that Geoff Hurst did the business with to actually allow Mr Moore to collect the very convincing, yet snide, World Cup off her Maj.
Oooooh. Exciting eh?
A quick pint at the Hood and it’s off down to the ground for our piccies to be taken with the aforementioned pots. A nice man from the FA museum explains the story about the replica world cup (like I said, buy the book!) and explains, quite seriously, that we’re not allowed to actually touch the trinkets. The Greek one probably sums it up best. “So if we touch them, HE touches us?” before pointing to the frankly frighteningly mountain sized security bloke stood nearby. Mr Museum man confirms our fears with a nod. Rats. Better forget about borrowing ‘em for an evening of showing off in the Hood then!
With the temperature roughly 400 degrees outside (look, I’m English ok. I’m not built for this type of weather!) we decide a trot back to the Hood isn’t a good idea and instead settle in over the road at the Plough for a couple of soft drinks and the second half of the West Ham-Preston game.
The pre-match stuff involves a parade & name check for the members of the 2 sides on that day in 1963. Todays U’s side is a little threadbare compared with our previous warm-up games. We’re fielding only 1 recognised defender for a start! Lewis Gonsalves being our only rear player in action today with Palmer, Hodges and Hamlin all missing and no sign of Eddie Youds after his appearance on Monday. Corbett & Honey (?) fill in. This should be fun.
With the high temperature, things are never likely to be that lively. But several minutes in, the U’s almost take the lead with their first real attack of the game. Watson chases down a long ball forward and recovers it right on the byeline. He goes past a chasing defender before rolling the ball back to the supporting Fowler on the edge of the box. But his first time effort clips the bar with the ‘keeper stranded.
The Dons are soon making thier mark though. Sidwell gaining possession just inside his own half. With plenty of space in front of him he drives into the U’s half before letting fly with a blistering effort from around 25 yards that from our position at the opposite end can see is heading right for the top corner. But, Andy Iga is aware and pulls off a great one handed stop, tipping the shot over the bar.
The U’s slightly scratchy line up is having problems getting any kind of decent movement going and with Bolt playing deeper than normal, the usual supply to the front two is more sparse than usual. AFC are moving the ball much more fluidly and 23 minutes in, make progress down our right. A fast paced dangerous ball is put into the box, but headed clear by one of our makeshift defenders.
The liveliest moment of the entire half follows on a couple of minutes later when Bailey surges forwards with the ball from deep in the U’s half, gliding past one challenge on halfway. His next contact is about 30 yards out from goal, when the AFC No7 (and ex-scummer) Bassey scythes him down. A little miffed by such a stupid challenge in whats meant to be a friendly, things get a little heated. Before we know whats happened, Bailey is on his feet and giving the recently-arrived-on-the-scene, Oakins, a good slap. This naturally causes it all to kick off and after the ref has sorted everything out approaches the AFC bench requesting their No3, Sean Daly, be removed after he’d got involved a little too enthusiastically. Bailey doesn’t need telling as he knows what’s coming and is already on his way back to the bench. The previously unknown Biju Kironde replaces him and moves up front with Watson. Man we get some crackingly named trialists down here sometimes! Collins drops behind them and Fowler finds himself in a probably slightly unfamiliar central midfield role!
Despite this setback, the U’s manage to carve out a couple of half chances before the break. First Watson chases down another of those lost causes, comes up with the ball and plays it back across the box. But it’s behind Collins and he can’t get a shot off. Then Bolt drops a free-kick into the box from the right that evades the AFC ‘keeper but is also just too high for Corbett at the back post.
Sweating heavily, we wander around to the Shoebox at the break to await the second half. Oh and sweat some more of course.
The visitors make a few changes at half time and immediately have an impact. Catching the U’s cold (in this weather? you’re kidding?) with a quick foray down our left. A quick ball into the box gives the Dons a sight of goal, but the shot is screwed badly wide.
Watson heads weakly wide on 52 minutes after Fowler has crossed into the box following a Danny Bolt free-kick. 3 minutes after, Wimbledon miss their best chance. Another cross from our left picks out Dobbinson, unmarked 6 yards out. But he guides his header wide of the far post when he really should’ve hit the target.
The U’s replace the ineffective Kironde with another of our Youth products, Aaron Cole-Bolt. He has an immediate impact, playing a good pass in behind the AFC defence for Collins. Winning the footrace, he lifts the ball over the advancing ‘keeper, only to see the ball trickle agonisingly the wrong side of the post and into the side netting. Another good chance falls to the visitors just after the hour when Honey slips and gives Dobbinson a clear run at goal. But Davis, having replaced Iga, is quick off his line to block the ball at the edge of the area. It runs loose to ex-U, Gray on the edge of the box, but his driven effort flies just wide of the far post with Gonsalves getting back to cover the unguarded net.
It’s a costly miss, as with a little over 20 minutes remaining a huge kick from Davies bounces and carries over the Dons defence. Collins nips in and with the ‘keeper exposed, slips the ball into the far corner of the net.
Gray has a chance with 10 minutes left to atone for his earlier miss when Davis misses a cross. But the AFC man’s namesake, Matt, is on hand to hook the ball off his foot and clear the danger. The last real action of note falls to the U’s though. A rare burst from Bolt down the left ends with a low ball in from the byeline. Watson is the target, but before he can get a shot in, a defender makes a last ditch challenge and the chance is gone.
So, the lads keep their 100% record, but god knows how against a useful looking AFC side. They shouldn’t have too much trouble challenging seriously for that CCL title this time around I think.
Still sweating, we amble back to the Hood for a couple of ice cold post-match bevvies and the scores from the first day of the official football action on the telly. Inside of course. We’ve had quite enough of that sun bollocks thank you.
Only another 7 days now people. And it’s all on for real………thank god.
TEAM : Iga, Gonsalves, Corbett, Honey, Gray, Akuamouah, Bailey, Bolt, Fowler, Collins, Watson.
SUBS : Davis, Aaron Cole-Bolt, Biju Kironde