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Preview: An FA Cup battle between two clubs with unique stories

Quotes from both camps and a focus on FC Halifax

30 November 2018

AFC Wimbledon will on Saturday come up against another club that has battled through real adversity with FC Halifax providing the opposition in front of a national TV audience.

Pitched in the media as a 'cup battle between two phoenix clubs', The Dons will be aiming to negotiate what's likely to be a stern challenge from Halifax, a club that reformed six years after AFC Wimbledon.

Following victory in front of the TV cameras at Haringey in the last round of the Emirates FA Cup, the Dons will once again be on the telly with coverage on BT Sport One (12.30 pm kick-off).

History between the two clubs goes back a long way with Halifax Town as the opponents on 20 August 1977 when Wimbledon FC's Football League adventure started at Plough Lane.

AFC Wimbledon's Interim Manager Simon Bassey is too young to remember that match, but he's fully aware of the history of this fixture. And with plenty of AFC Wimbledon supporters making early morning starts on Saturday – three supporters' coaches are booked for the trip – Simon is eager to reward them with a victory in West Yorkshire that will put Wimbledon into the third round.

Below are quotes from both camps, plus stats, and facts about FC Halifax.

Simon Bassey

"So much has happened in Wimbledon's history since then (1977). We've had the highs of the FA Cup especially, but also the lows of what happened to this club and how it had to come back from that. To be facing Halifax again 41 years on is brilliant. I am really looking forward to it.

"The second round is a massive game for everyone, you are one game away from a dream tie for some. Financially for the club it is beneficial and free travel for the club is fantastic. I know it's a difficult start time for the fans because of TV coverage and I appreciate every one of the fans for their support. I thought they were excellent at Peterborough the other night and I know they will give the boys all the support that they can and we will try to give them something to be happy about.

"The FA Cup games always have a special feeling to them, they seem to bring the crowds out a bit more. I have fantastic memories of the FA Cup. Obviously, 1988 was the pinnacle, but you can also go back to the last few years and we've had good cup runs and played some big teams as AFC Wimbledon, so it's important for the club. It's a really good chance to put ourselves on the national stage again in terms of the coverage, so I'm really looking forward to it.

"All we can do is keeping working hard, keep trying to improve performances, and hopefully results will follow off the back of that. We have an FA Cup game coming up, knockout football, and we are really looking forward to it. We expect a tough game, but it's certainly one that we go into in good shape.

"We expect a good atmosphere and we certainly expect a tough game. I've watched three or four of their games and I've spoken to Jim Bentley (Morecambe manager) about them. They are a big side, well organised, hard-working, so we will touch upon all the things we know about them again in training tomorrow and we will be fully prepared for the game."

Jamie Fullarton

"I tell you what we can most learn from Wimbledon: how to win promotion four or five times. What they have done is remarkable. We've made great strides. The next stage is the difficulty of getting out of the National League. But because it is so hard, when teams do go up they more than hold their own. Look at Wimbledon, they rose very quickly. That's what I admire.

"The old adage of they won't fancy it, coming here to a non-league side, I don't buy that. Not least because they've already been to a non-league club [Haringey Borough] and won this season. They know what they're doing. They've been at this level recently, there's enough people involved there who fully understand and appreciate the strengths of this level."

Facts about FC Halifax

  • Halifax Town was founded in 1911, but it was liquidated in May 2008, and the club was subsequently reformed as FC Halifax Town in time for the 2008/09 season.
  • The club started again in Northern Premier League Division One North and has achieved three promotions since, most recently in 2013 when Halifax returned after a five-year absence to the fifth tier of English football (now the National League).
  • England striker Jamie Vardy had a spell with FC Halifax, helping the Shaymen to the Northern Premier League title and promotion to what is now National League North in 2011. Five years later Vardy famously helped Leicester City win the Premier League title.
  • FC Halifax play their home games at the redeveloped MBi Shay Stadium, a facility shared with Halifax Rugby League club, and it has a capacity of 14,000.
  • Former St Mirren, Crystal Palace, and Brentford midfielder Jamie Fullarton is the manager of FC Halifax. Fullarton, who was briefly in charge of Notts County in 2016, took over in February 2018 after the departure of Billy Heath.
  • FC Halifax will be bidding for a place in the third round of the FA Cup for the first time since the club was reformed. Morecambe were the first league club to be defeated by FC Halifax since its reformation, thanks to a goal from Cameron King, in a replay that set up a meeting with Wimbledon.

Form Guide (last six in all competitions, starting with most recent)

FC Halifax LWWDLD
AFC Wimbledon LWLWWL

Last time out

Ebbsfleet United 4-0 FC Halifax
Peterborough United 1-0 AFC Wimbledon

Blast from the past

On 20 August 1977, Halifax Town were the visitors to Plough Lane for Wimbledon's first Football League match. It was a cracking game that marked the club's move into the big time with 4,616 spectators watching an entertaining 3-3 draw. Jeff Bryant, John Leslie, and Roger Connell struck the goals for Wimbledon.

Tickets

Dons fans will be located in the East Stand (Block A) at the MBi Shay Stadium. Please note that it is cash only with entry via turnstiles 14 to 17 inclusive.

Admission prices are as follows:

  • Adults £15
  • Concessions (65 and over) £12
  • Under-18s £5
  • Under-12s free of charge
  • Disabled supporters pay as per their relevant age category. A carer, if required, is admitted free of charge.

Match commentary

Our WDON team will be providing live coverage from FC Halifax. This will be available by accessing our iFollow channel.


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