Young Dons Secure First Round Win Thanks To Birley’s Beauty
An inspired second-half performance from AFC Wimbledon’s Development side saw them come back from 1-0 down to record a 2-1 win at Meadowbank Football Ground over Dorking Wanderers.
Dorking Wanderers started the brighter of the two sides, with Giuseppe Sole working hard up front to try and forge an opening.
AFC Wimbledon’s Tyler Burley saw a lot of the ball early on, with the skilful winger happy to drive across the pitch, looking to play in Kane Crichlow, who was making clever runs in behind.
The first goal came in the 13th minute, after brilliant work from Dorking Wanderers left-back Samuel Beard set-up Tom Richards out wide, who found Sole at the back post to steer home a brilliant move, and give Wanderers the lead.
It could have been 2-0 before the interval, as Sole saw an effort crash back off the crossbar after more patient build-up – however the 1-0 lead at the interval was fair returns at the break.
Wanderers restarted the second half looking like to double their lead, as Tom Richards skipped through to power a low effort at goal – but Tzanev was more than equal to it in the Wimbledon goal.
Despite seeing a lot of the ball, it was a defensive mishap that gave The Dons a life line, as Wanderers’ keeper Slavomir Huk gifted the ball straight to Jack Rudoni 20 yards from goal.
Rudoni composed himself, and made no mistake in slamming the ball past the Wanderers’ covering defender, and leveling the tie.
With ten minutes to go, it seemed destined to head straight to penalties as per County Cup competition rules – however a free-kick 25 yards from goal offered Burley the chance to win the tie.
Sending a dipping free-kick over the wall, the strike gave little chance for Huk to save, and the Young Dons celebrated their turnaround as Burley’s strike nestled into the corner of the net.
Wanderers were left with just 5 minutes to salvage something from the tie, resulting in a late corner – which goalkeeper with Huk joined in an effort of redemption.
The corner skipped by all Wanderers’ attackers however, and the referee Nigel Lugg blew his whistle, signalling the completion of The Dons comeback, and progression into the second round.
Man of the Match: Jack Rudoni (AFC Wimbledon) - Efficiently ran the Dons side from the middle of the park, demonstrating bags of energy and skill, holding his nerve to bring his team level.
Photos: Simon Roe Photography