AFC Wimbledon marched into the second round of the Emirates FA Cup in style tonight with an emphatic victory against Bury.
A double from Dominic Poleon and goals from Paul Robinson, Dean Parrett and Lyle Taylor secured a 5-0 win to set-up a second round tie at National League North side Curzon Ashton on Sunday 4 December.
Though Bury’s woeful defending did help Wimbledon, it was a display of clinical finishing on the night and it provided a treat for the majority of the 2,316 crowd.
Neal Ardley was forced into a late change to his starting line-up after Jon Meades was deemed not fit enough to start after the pre-match warm-up. Meades had struggled to shake-off the ankle injury that caused him to miss Oldham and it meant that Dannie Bulman replaced him in the starting-line-up. George Francomb was therefore handed the left-back role that he filled effectively in the 0-0 draw on Saturday, Tom Beere called up to the bench. The only other change involved a recall for Chris Whelpdale with Tom Ellliott missing out due to illness.
It took until the 11th minute for Wimbledon to create the first hint of a chance when Andy Barcham bent in a superb cross from the right that picked out Lyle Taylor, but he was unable to get enough on his header and it drifted off target. In an open start to this replay, Bury had a brilliant chance to open the scoring when a fine move ended with Neil Danns clean through, but he struck his shot too close to James Shea, who dealt with it well.
Wimbledon were gradually warming to the task as an attacking force and a smart move ended with Whelpdale picking out Barcham through the middle in space, but his powerful shot was just over. It would be Barcham’s last meaningful contribution as he broke down injured and he was given a rousing ovation from the Dons support as he headed towards the tunnel. His replacement Dominic Poleon was straight into the thick of the action and one of his trademark bursts ended with a penalty appeal, but the referee was unimpressed.
The Dons opened the scoring in the 27th minute after a well-worked move. Bearing in mind that Paul Robinson scored crucial goals during Wimbledon’s surge towards the play-offs, it would be unfair to call him an unlikely hero in the scoring stakes. However, a striker would have been proud of his finish as he got in front of his marker to steer home from close range after a fierce cross by Taylor. In a frantic spell, there was even better to come for Wimbledon when a defensive mix-up allowed in Dean Parrett and he made no mistake with a clinical low finish.
With fans sensing a place in the second round was up for grabs, there was plenty of noise around the Cherry Red Records Stadium and the roars almost became louder when Parrett fired just wide from outside the area. There was an even better chance just minutes later when another mistake allowed in Taylor, but he was denied by Bury goalkeeper Ben Williams. However, a third goal did arrive in first-half injury-time. This time Robinson turned creator as he produced a lovely lay-off for Poleon, who fired home emphatically. That was not the end of the first-half action though as James Vaughan blazed over with the goal gaping, missing a golden chance to reduce the arrears.
The half-time whistle signalled a job well done so far from the Dons, who had played some lovely football at times during the first-half. It would need a dramatic turnaround for Wimbledon to be denied a place in the second round, but James Shea was required to tip an angled drive from Hallam Hope just wide. It was far from sustained pressure from Bury and Williams had to make another save before the hour when he palmed a rasping drive from Parrett over the crossbar.
With 66 minutes on the clock and Wimbledon closing in on victory, Neal Ardley even had the luxury of taking his captain off with Barry Fuller replaced by teenage full-back Seth Owens. It meant that Francomb reverted to the right-back position that he had become more accustomed to over the years. However, with Wimbledon attacking at every opportunity and Bury continuing to look so vulnerable, there was no need to worry too much about defending. Certainly, that was the case when Bury gifted the Dons another. A back pass from James Vaughan was well too short and Poleon finished it in style by rounding Williams and tapping into an empty net.
With 12 minutes to go, Poleon had a chance to seal his hat-trick. A smart free-kick from Parrett gave Taylor a sight of goal and when his shot was blocked, Poleon attempted to find the bottom corner, but an overworked Williams got down well to save. There was not long to wait for a fifth goal and it came in great style too. Taylor received the ball on the right just outside the area and he turned his marker inside out, before drilling home a low finish that left Williams with no chance. In a rampant Dons display, the shots on goal just kept on coming and Parrett struck a fierce drive that flashed just wide.
It was a great way to seal a place in the second round of the cup, offering encouragement that Wimbledon are in the mood to return to the form that was so impressive in October.
AFC Wimbledon: James Shea, Barry Fuller (Seth Owens), Dannie Bulman (Tom Beere), Paul Robinson, Chris Robertson, George Francomb, Jake Reeves, Dean Parrett, Chris Whelpdale, Lyle Taylor, Andy Barcham (Dominic Poleon).