Impressive run ended by Port Vale
AFC Wimbledon supporters made a gallant exit from a hotly-contested tournament at Preston after player-manager Dan Stevens had led their charge into the last-16.
annual Internet Football Association (IFA) Supporters tournament in style, before they eventually bowed out to Port Vale last weekend.thThe Wimbledon Supporters A team came through the group phase at the 18
An opening 1-0 defeat to RC Lens A left Wimbledon with a mountain to climb, but they kept alive their chances of progression with Jamie Connolly’s superb header earning a 1-1 draw against Airdrie.
That meant victory in the final group match against Peterborough would seal a spot in the cup competition for the following day. Thankfully, the best was still come from Wimbledon and Stevens in particular. Stevens, a former AFC Wimbledon Community Coach, struck two clinical finishes and an impressive solo goal from Will Renton-Rose earned a 3-0 victory.
With Stevens in such great form and AFC Wimbledon’s Office Administrator Chris Atkinson making his presence felt in a solid Dons defence, last-16 opponents Port Vale were put under pressure early on. That paid off when Stevens headed home his third of the tournament after Tony Wheeler had caused chaos in the Vale defence. However, Vale produced a stirring response to notch an equaliser and with no further goals scored it was over to a golden goal to separate the two teams. There was a real opportunity to book a quarter-final place when the Dons were awarded a penalty, but 17-year-old Michael Francis, who had been a revelation in the midfield holding role all weekend, saw his well-struck spot-kick brilliantly saved.
Wimbledon’s bad luck from the spot continued into a penalty shoot-out and they were eventually edged out 4-3 after it went to sudden death (our picture above shows Dons players showing a united front during the penalties)
AFC Wimbledon Supporters B, skippered by Warren Church, were knocked out of the Plate competition after a hard-fought 1-0 defeat against Bury.
Despite the lack of silverware, an entertaining weekend was had by all who attended and plenty of relationships were formed with fellow supporters from around the country.
Both sides will continue to represent the club in the 2013/14 season.