A superb individual goal from substitute Harlan Basker tonight sealed a spot in the second round of the FA Youth Cup for AFC Wimbledon Under-18s.
The young striker (pictured in action on Saturday by Alex Mitchell) struck with three minutes left to earn a deserved 2-0 victory against Farnborough after Charlie Fayers had opened the scoring. It was the least that the Dons deserved on the night for an impressive overall performance, though things will get a lot tougher in the next round with Cheltenham next up at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.
There was almost a scare for the Dons on Halloween after just 30 seconds when Lennox Phillips powered clean through, but Wimbledon goalkeeper Jack Greenaway was out quickly to rescue the situation.
However, Charlie Fayers provided the spark needed to settle any Wimbledon nerves in just the third minute when he latched onto a George Oakley flick and produced a sweet finish with his left foot from an acute angle.
With Chace Jacquart and captain Dan Pearse pulling the strings in midfield, Wimbledon settled into a fluid attacking rhythm and they almost doubled their advantage when Tom Beere struck a fierce 25-yard drive that forced a full stretch save from Farnborough number one Samuel Bersey. The Dons continued to impress with their passing game and they almost doubled their advantage when Tom Beere picked out Pearse, but Bersey just got there first before he could pull the trigger. Wimbledon maintained the pressure as the first-half wore on with the pace down the right of Sam Baffour driving them forward. It was so nearly 2-0 on the stroke of half-time when the impressive Fayers showed a clean pair of heels to break through the Farnborough defence and he unselfishly put Oakley clean through, but he was denied by Bersey. Fayers also shot just over the crossbar as Wimbledon finished the first-half strongly.
The Dons continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession at the start of the second-half, but they could not quite find the finishing touch to match their impressive approach play. One flowing move down the right side ended with Baffour finding Pearse, but he shot just over the crossbar. Academy manager Mark Robinson shuffled his pack midway through the second-half when he sent on striker Basker in place of Baffour, who could be well pleased with his efforts on the night. The hosts received a warning that there would be no room for complacency though when Joshua Atese got behind the Wimbledon defence and it needed Greenaway to make a fine save. That failed to change the pattern of the match though and more impressive play from Fayers set-up Oakley, but Farnborough goalkeeper Bersey made another fine save.
With the Dons still vulnerable to a sucker-punch, Jacquart took matters into his own hands and unleashed a 30-yard drive that was just too high. However, it needed Basker to finally unlock the door once again and prevent a tense finish when he cut inside and drove home in great style.
Wimbledon had what their efforts on the night deserved three minutes from time when they sealed a place in the second round in style. It was an individual effort to savour from substitute Basker as he cut inside and unleashed a powerful drive that left Bersey with no chance. There was still time for Beere to strike a post, but two was enough for Wimbledon on the night as they marched into the second round in convincing fashion.
Chace Jacquart received the man of the match award for an impressive display in front of a crowd of 220 spectators.
AFC Wimbledon: Jack Greenaway, Chris Vleitnick, Matt Cunnington, Greg Hayden, Oluyesi Daley, Dan Pearse, Sam Baffour (Harlan Basker), Chase Jacquart, George Oakley (Charlie Craig), Charlie Fayers (Kieran Tarbie), Tom Beere.