Smith Goal Provokes Wimbledon Win

Wimbledon 3 v York City 1

Jack Smith fired Wimbledon into life with their opening goal as they ended up beating York City 3-1 in this FA Cup 1st round replay at Kingsmeadow on Tuesday night (18 November).

The Dons had fallen behind early on and struggled to find top gear until midway through the second period, when left-back Smith struck.

And after that it was a different ball game as the Dons found renewed confidence and lifted their tempo to book themselves a 2nd round trip to face Wycombe Wanderers.

‘We were not at the races for the first half tonight,’ Smith told the club’s official website afterwards, ‘but we showed what we can do in the second half.

‘Now we want to give Wycombe a better game [than a recent 0-2 defeat at Adams Park] in the next round. We want to win every game. If we can win the next two or three matches then we will be right up there around the play-off positions in the league.’

The Dons got off to the worst possible start in this match as they fell behind with just five minutes on the clock.

There seemed little threat when Wes Fletcher picked up the ball after a tussle with Alan Bennett 30 yards out, but the York striker unleashed a half-volley that flew into the back of the net, with keeper James Shea getting a touch but unable to keep it out.

That put Wimbledon onto the back foot and the visitors could have gone further ahead, including another long-range effort, this time from Marvin McCoy, that ballooned off Adam Barrett and could have gone anywhere but thankfully for the Dons went for a corner.

Midfielder Dannie Bulman went closest for the Dons during their subdued first period, volleying a long-range effort narrowly off target, but overall it was a disjointed half from the hosts with wide men George Francomb and Sean Rigg largely snuffed out.

But the shape of the game changed with an hour on the clock as manager Neal Ardley introduced substitutes Adebayo Azeez and Sammy Moore and switched to a 4-3-3 formation.

And 19 minutes from the end the Dons were level with a well-worked goal. Bulman played a long looping pass forward to Akinfenwa just inside the York box, and he astutely headed down into the path of the onrushing Smith who made no mistake to drill home the equaliser.

It wasn’t all one-way traffic, though, and Shea had to be alert to add to his growing reputation by pulling off a magnificent save after Jake Hyde was put through by Michael Coulson.

But the Dons weren’t to be denied, and nine minutes from time Akinfenwa was again involved in producing a goal for the Dons. This time he was in a midfield position and lofted a ball over the top for Matt Tubbs to latch onto.

The on-loan Bournemouth striker may have been out of form in recent matches, but as soon as he evaded his marker there was only ever one likely outcome and Tubbs duly produced from the edge of the area to make it 2-1 to Wimbledon.

With the game entering injury time, York keeper Michael Ingham went up to the other end in an ‘all or nothing’ effort as his side won a corner. It was ‘nothing’. The Dons’ defence cleared the ball to Bulman who played a sweeping first-time pass to Tubbs, who surged forward from the halfway line, beat the only York defender back, and calmly slotted home from a narrow angle.

The 2nd round tie at Wycombe has been moved to Sunday 7 December for television coverage, but before then the Dons face a visit to Oxford United on Saturday (22 November) before hosting Cambridge United the following weekend.

Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Bennett, Barrett, Smith, Francomb (Moore 61), Bulman, Sutherland, Rigg (Azeez 61), Tubbs, Akinfenwa. Subs not used: Kennedy, Nicholson, Beere, Oakley, McDonnell.

Goalscorers: Smith 71, Tubbs 81, 90.

Booked: Rigg 26, Akinfenwa 31.

York City: Ingham, McCoy, Zubar, Lowe, Ilesanmi, Meikle, Penn, Montrose (Platt 78), Coulson, Fletcher (Carson 64), Hyde. Subs not used: Mooney, McCombe, Summerfield, Jarvis, Hirst.

Goalscorer: Fletcher 5.

Att: 2,048.

By Rob Crane

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November 20, 2014