AFC Wimbledon reign supreme at regional finals
AFC Wimbledon’s Walking Football team have shown Neal Ardley’s men the way for next season by beating off sides representing League 2 clubs to win silverware.
Hosts Luton Town and Stevenage were brushed aside by a vintage team of Dons who showed they had lost none of their silky skills despite their advancing years!
A team representing Premier League Norwich City were beaten in the final to earn glory for Wimbledon’s older generation of footballers.
AFC Wimbledon season ticket holder Paul Scrivener led the charge as he earned the Golden Boot for top scorer in the competition with 10 goals.
The victorious team (left to right above) is as follows: George Webb, Paul Scrivener, Adam Fields, Dave Rawlinson, Phil Goodchild, Andy Maclure, Mike Ryley.
Victory at the Football League’s South East Regional Walking Football tournament means that the Dons go through to the national finals, which will be staged at the FA’s national headquarters at St George's Park on 6 July.
The Dons beat off competition from eight other sides to triumph and below is an account of the tournament from captain Mike Ryley.
The tournament was very well organised by the LTFC Community coaches and consisted of nine teams split into two groups for an initial round-robin of matches. We were drawn in a group of five, meaning that our old legs had to cope with an extra match! We started with a convincing 3-0 win against a strong Luton Town team, but then we slipped to a narrow 1-0 defeat against Norwich City - later to be avenged in the sweetest of circumstances!
A 1-1 draw and an impressive 3-0 victory followed, which demonstrated the strength of our squad, and qualified us comfortably for the quarter-finals. Stevenage FC were beaten 3-0 and we were beginning to feel confident. At this stage, we thought if we could keep up our high pressing game, reinforced by an imposing defence, with our sprightly (73 year old!) keeper Ralph behind, we could go all the way.
Our group must have been the stronger of the two because in the semi-final we faced Luton Town again. This proved a tense encounter, but we came through it to win 2-0. The final again reflected the strength of our group as Norwich City, the only team to have beaten us so far, were our opponents. This was possibly our best performance. After being under some pressure early on, we took the lead and then controlled the match, offering Norwich no opportunities in the process. Near the end another great strike settled matters emphatically and the 2-0 victory was well earned.
It was heartening to receive the warm congratulations of the other teams, acknowledging that the best team on the day had come through. We were proud that as well as winning the tournament we also provided the top goalscorer, thanks to Paul, and the meanest defence as we conceded just two goals in seven matches. A great day but, oh, those legs ached when I got up the next day! We'll be sure to give it our best shot at St.George’s Park.
Our AFC Wimbledon Community Foundation stage Walking Football sessions every Wednesday night at Tooting & Mitcham United between 6.00 pm and 7.00 pm.
020 8974 5712. for more information or contact Communityfootball@afcwimbledonfoundation.org.ukE-mail