Egan is the hero once again
AFC Wimbledon U-18s earned a dramatic last-gasp win in the FA Youth Cup at St James’ Park tonight with Alfie Egan again emerging as the hero.
Locked at 1-1 with two minutes remaining, extra-time seemed inevitable, but Egan (pictured left above) headed home his second goal on the night to earn a 2-1 victory against Newcastle and a last-16 home tie against either Chelsea or Man United.
It was fully deserved for Wimbledon as they showed spirit in abundance when Newcastle had their good spell in the second-half after their equaliser.
Having beaten Watford on their own patch in the last round, Wimbledon showed no signs of nerves early on at St James’ Park and Mark Robinson’s side came so close to taking the lead in the first 20 minutes. A signal of Wimbledon’s intent came within four minutes when the visitors won a free-kick on the right and Neset Bellikli delivered a free-kick that landed on top of the net.
minute with a move that so nearly resulted in the lead. Bellikli picked out Dan Ano and his ball put through Alfie Egan, who slotted the ball past Newcastle goalkeeper Paul Woolston, but it bounced off a post. Bellikli’s influence was growing as the first half wore on, the skilful winger causing plenty of problems as he drifted in from the right with regularity.thThe first glimpse of what Wimbledon had produced in the last round at Vicarage Road came in the 13
Wimbledon came so close again when Bellikli forced Woolston into a fine save and the follow-up was also saved by the Newcastle goalkeeper. At the other end, Emmanuel Mensah had to be alert to stop Callum Smith getting through on goal. However, the Dons continued to dominate with Jason Stripp, Seanan McKillop and Egan pulling the strings superbly in midfield. More Wimbledon pressure resulted in Olusanya powering through on goal, but he lifted his shot over the crossbar.
minute. Egan was sent clean through by an excellent pass from Jason Stripp and this time he made no mistake with a lovely lob over Woolston.ndNewcastle had struggled to gain decent possession in the first half hour, but they did come so close to an opener after Toby Sibbick gave away a foul on the edge of the box and was booked for it. Sean Longstaff tried his luck from an acute angle 20 yards out and it was a brilliant effort that bounced off the crossbar. However, that failed to change the pattern of the game as Wimbledon continued to look more threatening and the Dons were rewarded with the lead in the 32
A half-time lead was the least Wimbledon deserved, but the visitors did need to demonstrate fine defending during fleeting moments of Newcastle danger. Paul Kalambayi produced a brilliant last-ditch interception to stop Lewis McNall from going clean through.
Following a very impressive first-half, the Dons endured the worst possible start after half-time. The equaliser came right through the middle as Mackenzie Heaney put McNall through and he left Wimbledon goalkeeper Will Mannion with no chance. It was a completely different game now as Newcastle poured forward in search of another goal. The Dons responded though by putting together another wonderful move that so nearly regained the lead. Bellikli cut in from the right and picked out McKillop, who sent Egan through on goal again, but he was denied by a fine save from Woolston.
Wimbledon needed Kalambayi to be at his best 10 minutes into the second half when he cleared off the line after Longstaff had risen highest in the box to meet a free-kick. In contrast to the first half, it was all Newcastle now, the Dons needing to show plenty of resilience to remain level. Sibbick summed up exactly what was required when he got back well to get in a vital tackle as Newcastle substitute Ben Kitchen threatened to go clean through.
It became extremely tense at St James’ Park as we entered the final 15 minutes and the prospect of extra-time loomed. There was a key moment 10 minutes from time when Callum Smith jinked through on goal, but Will Mannion got down superbly to save.
With both sides really going for a winner, it was Wimbledon that grasped the bull by the horns. Sibbick sent through a lovely ball for Dan Ano and he was denied brilliantly by Woolston. However, the subsequent corner was taken short and Bellikli sent over a superb cross that Egan headed home emphatically. That signalled jubilation among the Wimbledon players and travelling Dons fans. There was still time for Newcastle to press forward in desperate search for an equaliser, but Wimbledon held on during three minutes of extra-time to celebrate a famous victory.
AFC Wimbledon: Will Mannion, Emmanuel Mensah, David Omperon, Toby Sibbick, Paul Kalambayi, Jason Stripp, Neset Bellikli, Seanan McKillop, Dan Ano, Alfie Egan, Toyosi Olusanya (Nathan Wood).