Simon's perfect testimonial celebrations
Simon Bassey marked his testimonial with an unlikely hat-trick yesterday to provide the perfect celebration after his 10 years at AFC Wimbledon.
Our first-team coach, who never scored in 60 appearances for the Dons, struck a treble in his exhibition match and the goals were not exactly handed to him on a plate as is customary in testimonials. One was struck from the halfway line into the top corner as Simon's side won 4-3 in a match that featured supporters playing alongside former Wimbledon players, including Ben Thatcher, who flew in from Spain to take part. Simon was quick to thank the 13 ex-players who took part, along with the club and supporters for helping him on his "incredible journey".
"I really enjoyed the day," said Simon. "It was great to see the old faces and I must thank them for all turning up and the crowd on the day for turning out to support the event. I had a shoot-on-sight policy in the match, but the goalkeeper had not read the script in the first-half and I had to remind him at half-time that it was not his testimonial! I never expected to get three goals and certainly not one from the halfway line. I think it looks a bit better now with three goals in 61 appearances for Wimbledon. A special thank-you must go to Ben Thatcher and Rob Ursell as they flew in from Spain and Cyprus respectively to play in the match."
A crowd of 1,067 turned out to watch the exhibition match and AFC Wimbledon versus a West Ham XI. Simon added that it was a fitting trubute not just to him, but also everyone connected with the club for reaching the Football League in just nine years.
"The players who turned out today deserve massive credit for playing a part in the success of this club," he said. "Without their efforts and those of the club's directors and supporters, we would not have been on this incredible journey. It has been fantastic getting to the Football League, but we will keep striving to improve as this club has never stood still."
Jon Main struck the winning goal in the exhibition match that fittingly ended in a 4-3 win for Simon's side. Rob Ursell and Elliott Godfrey scored for the other team and there was a special moment for Dons supporter Mike Trewin, who scored the other goal.
The full list of former Wimbledon players who took part is as follows: Andy Little, Keith Ward, Matt Everard, Ben Thatcher, Noel Frankum, Rob Ursell, Ryan Gray, Dave Fry, Simon Ray, Martin Randell, Joe Sheerin, Jon Main, Elliott Godfrey.