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Kick off 15:00 (UK)

08 January 2022 Venue Meadow Park Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English FA Cup

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Match Previews

Ayoub back in contention for FA Cup clash

Full preview plus the latest footage of Paul Kalambayi

7 January 2022

Mark Robinson can welcome back Moroccan teenage sensation Ayoub Assal for Saturday’s Emirates FA Cup third round clash with Boreham Wood at Meadow Park.

A positive test for Covid-19 ruled Assal (pictured) out of our last League One game at Oxford United, but he returns to the Dons squad for a tricky tie away to the National League high-flyers. Defender Will Nightingale is also back in contention having recovered from his ankle and knee sprains.  

“Ayoub is back, he’s looking really sharp,” said Robbo. “The only issue we’ve got with Will is that he won’t be able to go back-to-back games just yet, so we’ve got to work out when he’s going to start. He won’t be able to go Saturday, Tuesday straight away.”

Robbo is looking forward to facing a Dons hero from the past with Luke Garrard having taken a similar career path to him - from the academy to leading the first-team.

“I know Luke really well, we’ve become really good friends,” said Robbo. “When I used to be youth team coach and he looked after their youth team, we used to play Boreham Wood every pre-season. I knew him when he was a player with us and that has continued.

“He’s done an absolutely fantastic job. He’s very underrated in what he has done at Boreham Wood. Like myself, he ran the academy and now he’s got the first team manager’s job. He’s someone I respect a lot. I’m looking forward to seeing him again, but obviously we want to get a positive result!”

With a change to the rules of the competition, it’s now a one-off occasion with no prospect of a replay back at the Cherry Red Records Stadium. Both sides will be going for it, with extra-time and penalties both possibilities when it comes to deciding the outcome on the day.

“It’s a real test,” said Robbo. “They are really good at what they do. We know how tough it is going to be and we’ve got to deal with it. As always, we’ve got to implement our game on them.  

“We’re preparing for everything, but more important is that we’ve got to look forward to playing football again and get back to being us and give everyone something to look forward to. We’re fully prepared, we know what they offer. We know that if there’s things we don’t do well enough, it’s going to be a difficult afternoon – which it will be anyway.

“I think they’ve got the most clean sheets in the country, out of all five divisions. They very rarely concede. If it becomes a game where they are enjoying themselves, we know we’re in trouble. We’ve got to implement our style and ourselves on the game.”

For our full FA Cup preview with Head Coach Mark Robinson, including an update on the return to fitness of defender Paul Kalambayi, click on the link below via our official YouTube channel.

You can also watch what happened when the squad switched training venue this week to beat the freeze and prepare for this weekend's Cup tie. 

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Match Reports

Dons exit cup after non league hosts prove too strong

Below-par performance results in elimination

8 January 2022

AFC Wimbledon were muscled out of the FA Cup by a non League team that were simply too strong for us on the day.

The Dons simply couldn't find a way through Boreham Wood’s solid and well-drilled defence. The result was a bitter disappointment for over 1,000 of our fans who came here dreaming that this could be the springboard for another memorable cup run. But it wasn't to be as we struggled to make an impact up front despite a lively start.

All the hope and expectation that had been drummed up in the build-up to this game was quickly thrust into the background as Robbo's boys struggled to find their usual free flowing rhythm.

Eager to recover from the recent league defeat at Oxford, the match at the LV Bet Stadium offered Wimbledon the perfect chance to bounce back in front of a sell-out crowd, but it was an occasion which arguably overwhelmed the men in blue with a lack of clear-cut chances in the first period.

As the rain began to pour in the second-half it became abundantly clear that there was to be no repeat of our past cup heroics – the frustrations growing both on and off the field.

Goals from Tyrone Marsh and Adrian Clifton capped a good home win for the Wood, who showed that they were more than a match for their EFL counterparts.

Mark Robinson made two changes to the side which lost 3-0 away to Oxford United with the returning Ayoub Assal and Henry Lawrence coming in for Egli Kaja and Dan Csoka. Meanwhile, there was more good news for Wimbledon on the fitness front as Will Nightingale made the bench for the first time since sustaining an injury back in October. There was a change in formation too, with the Dons going bold in attack, lining up in a fluid 3-4-3 system in an effort to cause our National League opponents problems from the off.

There was also a chance to renew acquaintances with two of our ex-players as Luke Garrard led his side from the dugout, whilst Connor Smith – one of the members of our League Two promotion winning squad of 2016 – started on the bench for the Wood.

With £82,000 in prize money up for grabs and the opportunity to create even more history in a competition that has given us so many good memories along the way, there was certainly plenty of incentives for Wimbledon to secure progress to the fourth round.

It didn’t take Robbo’s boys long for their expansive system to click into gear with Luke McCormick playing an important role in creating our first opening of the contest. Initially picking the ball up on the left-hand side, the midfielder drove at the heart of the Boreham Wood backline, before sliding a ball to Ollie Palmer, who had found space on the right side of the box. The striker’s driven cross was excellent, and McCormick was inches away from capping off the move he’d started.

Robbo and his staff had done their usual homework on our opponents with this newly acquired formation providing plenty of width and options in possession. Anthony Hartigan and Alex Woodyard took it in turns to drop into the back three to collect the ball and orchestrate attacks.

However, the momentum to Wimbledon’s start was quickly stifled as the hosts took the lead against the run of play. The ball was given away sloppily in midfield before it was recycled to Tyrone Marsh some 20 yards from goal. A quick shift and finish from the striker had Nik Tzanev beaten all ends up as his effort flew into the top corner.

Wimbledon had to respond, and it was McCormick again who was the main threat to the Wood defence. The midfielder drove into space just outside the area, before striking a low effort which skidded just wide of the right hand upright. An equaliser almost came about just past the half hour mark as a left-wing cross from Jack Rudoni was deflected on its path towards the goal, thus changing the trajectory of the ball, which in turn forced Taye Ashby-Hammond into a reflex save to keep his side ahead.

However, the Wood were once again showing that the two-division gap between the sides mattered little as they threatened to increase their lead. This time a near post cross found an attacking player, but thankfully for the Dons it drifted into the side netting.

Half-time offered the men from SW19 an opportunity to regroup and go again as the rain began to cascade down onto the field of play. Robbo sought to gain a foothold in the second period by reorganising his side into a more familiar 4-2-3-1 formation that we have become accustomed to seeing for much of the campaign so far. This gave Nightingale the chance to be bedded back into the action as part of the back four as he was brought on in the 57th minute. Applause came from the crammed but noisy away end that horseshoed its way around the far end of the ground.

As we approached the final 20 minutes of the contest Wimbledon made another throw of the dice as both Egli Kaja and Dapo Mebude were introduced for Assal and Rudoni, thus offering a further injection of pace to the side. Despite the change in approach, there was still plenty of frustration for the Dons as intricate attempts to break through the Boreham Wood brick wall were continuously repelled - the non-league side standing strong.

Kaja certainly made an impact after coming on and he was starting to take the risks that Wimbledon had desperately wanted in the first half. As we entered the final 10 minutes Boreham Wood began to sit a lot deeper in an attempt to protect their slender lead. Despite the sustained Wimbledon pressure, it was the hosts who would increase their lead as they broke well in numbers. This time a cross from the left came in after good build-up play with substitute Adrian Clifton applying the finishing touch that all but ended the game as a contest.

It was a bitter pill for the Dons to swallow, but one that was deserved on the balance of play as the men in blue and yellow failed to really force Ashby-Hammond into any notable action throughout the 90 minutes. With a fast flurry of games to come, Wimbledon must bounce back quickly to get this season back on track.

AFC Wimbledon: Nik Tzanev, Henry Lawrence (Will Nightingale), Alex Woodyard, Anthony Hartigan, Ollie Palmer, Ayoub Assal (Egli Kaja), Jack Rudoni (Dapo Mebude), Nesta Guinness-Walker, Luke McCormick (Ethan Chislett), Ben Heneghan, Paul Osew.

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Ticket News

Emirates FA Cup match vs Boreham Wood: Ticket information

10 December 2021

Season ticket and debenture holders will be entered into a ballot so they get first chance to buy tickets for our third round FA Cup tie at Boreham Wood.

A total of 1250 tickets are available for the game at Meadow Park on Saturday, January 8.

After usual club ticket requirements, there will be 1120 tickets available for purchase. The club and Dons Trust Board have agreed to hold a ballot exclusively for season ticket and debenture holders and will randomly draw 560 names.

The winners will then be offered the chance to purchase two tickets each in order that fans who need to be accompanied - such as children or the elderly, for example - will be able to go to the game.

Every winner will be contacted by us to let them know they have been selected. They will then be able to purchase their tickets via a priority window direct from the Boreham Wood ticketing site.

Please note the following. It is imperative that ballot winners log into the Boreham Wood ticketing site using the same email address that we hold on the system for you (it will be the one we use to email you about winning the ballot). 

Fans can purchase tickets via their website only, this is a Boreham Wood requirement and we cannot bypass it. However, any fans who encounter problems can phone 020 8953 5097 for assistance.

In order for the system to work, we will submit our winners’ email addresses to Boreham Wood ticketing platform. That will then enable our fans to log in and buy tickets with priority via our opponents’ ticketing system. 

The ballot window will run for one week. However, should our winners not use up the entire ticket allocation, then any remaining will go on general sale to those season ticket and debenture holders who did not win the ballot. This will be on a strict first-come, first-served basis and will also be via the Boreham Wood ticketing site.

In all circumstances, we are not able to book tickets on our fans’ behalf. This can ONLY be done directly via Boreham Wood.

We will be able to take enquiries and will do our utmost to relay any issues fans may have, however, in the first instance please contact Boreham Wood.

Please keep an eye out for further updates about the ballot window once we have confirmation from Boreham Wood. 

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