Captain on 2014/15 season ahead of fixture release day
Wimbledon captain Barry Fuller says he is itching to get back playing again after experiencing memorable nights with the Dons in knockout competitions last season.
Barry has been keeping himself busy with coaching at his Fuller Weston academy, but recalling the club’s runs in the FA Cup and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy last season makes him hungry for more.
With tomorrow being fixture release day, a look back at the 2014/15 is the final one in our series featuring the key matches of each season since AFC Wimbledon’s rebirth.
Milton Keynes (a) on 7 October, 2014 (won 3-2)
With AFC Wimbledon supporters having been through this fixture twice previously, the away following was sparse, but victory meant a lot to a club that had come so far since its rebirth in 2002. It was a dramatic win too as Wimbledon came from 2-1 down to win with goals from Sean Rigg and Bayo Akinfenwa.
“MK away was probably above the Liverpool game because of what the win meant to the club and our supporters,” said Barry. “They had a strong side out for the JPT, but we did ourselves proud. We competed well with them and got the result that we deserved."
Liverpool (h) on 5 January, 2015 (lost 2-1)
Wimbledon deservedly earned an equaliser through Bayo Akinfenwa and Neal Ardley’s men could even have been in front at half-time. However, Steven Gerrard struck a superb free-kick – his second of the game – and that was enough to take Liverpool into the FA Cup fourth round as the Dons bowed out in gallant fashion in front of a live BBC audience.
“When I was at Gillingham we played against Aston Villa in the third round, but I was suspended, so it was good to be involved for this one,” said Barry. “Everyone knows how good Liverpool are and we had to be at our best to give them a game. We played 11 versus 12 in training because we knew we were not going to get much of the ball.
“We gave a great account of ourselves as a club and we showed how far we had come. The fans were buzzing that night and I think they would have stayed with us no matter how we were getting on. The fans wanted to show a national TV audience that we are all one as a club.”
Luton (h) on 21 February, 2015 (won 3-2)
The Dons marched into a 2-0 lead and it should have been all over, but Luton bombarded Wimbledon after the break to restore parity. The stage was set for a dramatic finish and David Connolly provided it with his one and only goal of his second spell with Wimbledon.
“David came in and we knew what we were getting with his experience,” Barry said. “He would stay on late after training to work on his finishing and that was a good influence for our younger players. We should have been four or five up at half-time and we certainly deserved the points.”
Of course, the Dons have been drawn at Championship Cardiff City in the first round of the Capital One Cup and Barry says that making an impression in the knockout competitions will once again be a priority.
“That is what we are aiming for every year and we want to do well in the cup competitions again,” added Barry. “We want to go as far as we can. It is great for us as players to test ourselves against players at a higher level and it is good exposure for the club.
“I am really looking forward to getting back now and seeing all the boys. I want us to be challenging for promotion next season. I have been doing plyometrics (exercises to strengthen the knee) to get more spring to defend crosses in case I am needed to fill in at centre-back again. I am itching to be back and for us to do better next season.”