Wimbledon lived to fight another day in the FA Cup as they produced a dogged display to deny York City a passage into the second round.
The Dons answered Neal Ardley’s call to show the fighting spirit that had been lacking at Northampton a week earlier and they battled back to earn a 1-1 draw with a goal from Andy Frampton. However, Wimbledon would not have earned the chance of a replay without heroics from their goalkeeper James Shea, who produced a stunning double save near the end.
Neal Ardley tweaked his starting 11 after the defeat at Northampton Town by making two changes for this FA Cup tie. Ade Azeez was handed his first start since the memorable JPT win at Milton Keynes with Matt Tubbs the man to make way up front and Frankie Sutherland made his first Wimbledon start in place of Sammy Moore.
Taking on a York side without a win at home all season, Wimbledon got off to the worst possible start as they fell behind in the eighth minute. Michael Coulson reacted first after Wimbledon failed to clear their lines and his strike across goal was diverted in by Jake Hyde. It was a testing start for Wimbledon on a rain-sodden pitch at Bootham Crescent and Lindon Meikle threatened to make it worse when he curled just over the bar minutes later.
Wimbledon produced a positive response to that early setback and Sutherland almost fashioned a chance with a lovely ball over the top, but Bayo Akinfenwa just failed to get on the end of it. Then Sean Rigg chipped just over as Wimbledon’s attacking momentum started to gather pace. It was therefore no surprise when the Dons drew level midway through the first-half. Andy Frampton cracked home the equaliser in the emphatic fashion after the hosts had only half cleared a George Francomb corner. Suddenly, confidence was renewed for Wimbledon and Azeez was at the heart of their attacking play. The young striker got behind York’s defence and he was denied by a decent save from Michael Inghram.
It was an entertaining first half hour to this cup tie with both teams having chances and Wimbledon goalkeeper James Shea had to be alert to tip over a fierce free-kick from Coulson. Though Wimbledon had produced a promising first-half display, particularly with a much-improved attacking edge, York continued to cause problems and Deon Burton headed over the crossbar after Hyde had got the better of Jack Smith. It had been an evenly matched first-half and Wimbledon had the final effort of the first half when Sutherland struck a powerful effort from 25 yards, but Inghram held on to save it.
With Wimbledon having performed creditably in the first-half, Neal Ardley unsurprisingly decided to make no half-time changes. Following a slow start to the second-half, Wimbledon took the initiative and they came so close to going in front in the 57thminute. Francomb delivered a superb cross to the back post for Akinfenwa, but he was stretching for it and his close range effort was agonisingly wide.
There was a setback for Wimbledon just before the hour with Andy Frampton having to come off injured and he was replaced by Alan Bennett. With Wimbledon’s defence still readjusting, Hyde found space in the area from a corner, but he headed over the crossbar.
Neal Ardlet made a double change 15 minutes from time and that meant a completely different forward line for the Dons. George Oakley and Matt Tubbs were both offered opportunities to make a difference with Ade Azeez and Bayo Akinfenwa making way.
Wimbledon were forced back in the closing stages as the hosts drove forward in search of a winner and it needed a brilliant double save from James Shea to keep Wimbledon in the FA Cup. Shea initially pulled off a brilliant full stretch save to stop York substitute Wes Fletcher's header and then he reacted well to turn away Coulson’s follow-up, before Wimbledon scrambled the ball away.
The Dons coped fairly well with a bombardment from York in the latter stages and their battling display certainly deserved another crack on Tuesday week.
AFC Wimbledon: James Shea, Barry Fuller, Jack Smith, Dannie Bulman, Andy Frampton (Alan Bennett), George Francomb, Bayo Akinfenwa (Matt Tubbs), Sean Rigg, Ade Azeez (George Oakley), Adam Barrett, Frankie Sutherland.