A dramatic victory for the Dons
minute winner earning victory tonight.thThe Dons left it late to finally seal a quarter-final spot in the London Senior Cup with George Oakley’s 88
Oakley (pictured) struck the winner in style to secure a 2-1 victory that was inspired by Wimbledon’s young crop with Rob Switon, who came through the club's college academy, having equalised midway through the second-half with an excellent header.
It was a more than useful exercise on the night at Beckenham Town with first-teamers gaining fitness and young players coming through a tough test from a Ryman Premier side.
Wimbledon fielded a strong starting 11 at Eden Park with Andy Frampton, Peter Sweeney and Chris Arthur all stepping up their fitness levels. The presence of Frampton, a League 2 title winner as recently as last season, and Sweeney, who played in an FA Cup Final in 2004, perhaps summed up the size of the task facing Ryman Premier Cray.
However, Wimbledon were left stunned in just the third minute when they fell behind after failing to defend a free-kick from the left. Alex Stavrinou sent over a teasing delivery that evaded everyone apart from Adrian Stone and he got the slightest of touches on the ball to find the bottom corner with Ashley Bayes unsighted.
A swift response followed from Wimbledon after that setback with Harry Cooksley almost going clean through after a powerful run. Then Sweeney delivered a corner from the left that Frampton met with a flying header but the ball flashed just wide of the far post.
minute in similar circumstances to their opening goal. Stavrinou, who had played Conference football for Ebbsfleet United in recent years, curled in a wicked delivery from another set-piece on the left and this time Ugo Udogi met it with a powerful header that produced a fine point-blank save from Bayes. At the other end, Cooksley found space after good work from Jake Nicholson, but the winger’s effort was just wide.thThough Wimbledon dominated possession and did their best to play an expansive passing game, it was tough on such a threadbare pitch. And the hosts so nearly doubled their advantage in the 12
Despite Wimbledon’s pressure, Cray twice came close to making it 2-0 with Bayes first making a decent save to deny Cesc Fakinos and then the same player fired against the crossbar after speedy wing play from Udogi. The Dons came close to an equaliser on the stroke of half-time when Nicholson struck a fierce shot from 25 yards that was fumbled by Cray goalkeeper Darren Behcet, but Oakley headed the rebound wide from close-range.
minute though when Frampton was withdrawn as a precaution after twisting his ankle. That resulted in a reshuffle at the back with 16-year-old Ryan Sweeney entering the fray for Frampton. The young defender was involved straight away and he just got enough of a deflection on Stone’s close-range effort to deflect it wide.thNicholson appeared to be Wimbledon’s best hope of turning it around as he linked-up well with Sweeney in the centre of the park and he produced a promising first display in a Dons shirt. The Dons suffered a setback in the 54
Wimbledon finally started to move through the gears around the hour mark and they put together their best move of the match so far when Cooksley found Pearse in space down the right and he fizzed over a cross that Oakley just failed to divert into the goal. However, the Dons never had to wait too much longer for the equaliser and it was a great goal too as Ryan Sweeney swung over a superb ball from the right and Switon gave it the finish it deserved with an emphatic header into the top corner.
The Dons made another change 10 minutes from time with Kaja entering the fray for Callum Overton. And 16-year-old Kaja made a crucial impact three minutes from time when he put through a lovely defence-splitting ball that sent Oakley racing clear and he calmly rounded Behcet before firing into the empty net.
There was a late scare for Wimbledon when Dan Pearse cleared off the line from Helge Orome, but substitute Dan Ageyi almost put the icing on the cake when he was denied by Behcet in injury-time.
Wimbledon: Ashley Bayes, Rob Switon, Charlie Fayers, Dan Pearse, Andy Frampton (Ryan Sweeney) , Callum Overton (Egli Kaja), Harry Cooksley, Peter Sweeney, George Oakley (Dan Ageyi), Jake Nicholson, Chris Arthur. AFC