AFC Wimbledon emerged triumphant after another penalty shoot-out tonight with a superb save from Joe McDonnell taking The Dons through.
A 5-4 win on penalties came after a 0-0 draw at Molesey to earn a place in the second round of the Surrey Senior Cup. It was a second penalty shoot-out win for Wimbledon this season after knocking out Met Police in the London Senior Cup. Plucky hosts Molesey, a side playing their football in the Combined Counties Premier League, had defied Wimbledon pressure throughout with keeper Liam Allen making save after save to deny our young talents. As well as the victory, there was the real positive of Rod McDonald coming through the full 90 minutes and Adam Roscrow got just over an hour under his belt.
With Glyn Hodges watching on from the stand at Molesey, it offered a chance for returning pair McDonald and Roscrow to stake a claim for the first-team squad after injuries. Mark Robinson and Vaughan Ryan were in the dug-out for this match, aiming to guide Wimbledon’s young squad into the next round of the competition. It was a notable match for Ossama Ashley, who made his competitive return after long-term injury, and it didn’t take long for him to show his promise. A lovely run in the ninth minute from the talented midfielder ended with a shot just over the crossbar, earning applause from the Dons supporters that had made the short trip to Walton Road.
Molesey had the first effort on goal just a few minutes into this game with Joe McDonnell having to stay alert to save a 25-yard free-kick from Jamie Di Giuseppe. Chances followed at the other end for Wimbledon though, first when Tommy Wood struck just over after a good team move, before Jack Rudoni’s well-struck free-kick was gathered by Molesey keeper Liam Allen. Husuyin Biler showed real promise on the left flank, providing good width and another demonstration of his fine crossing ability after his performances in the FA Youth Cup. Biler appeared to have good claims for a penalty after 20 minutes when he went over in the box, but the referee was unimpressed.
Wimbledon put together a lovely move in the 34th minute and it almost led to the opener. Biler and Roscrow were involved in a flowing passage of play down the left and the ball was cut-back for Kyron Stabana, but his goal-bound shot was blocked. Biler, who was a constant threat down the left with his probing runs, then sent over a dangerous cross that picked out Tommy Wood and his powerful header was superbly saved by Allen. Despite Wimbledon’s pressure in the first-half, Molesey managed to keep the score at 0-0 heading into the break.
The Dons made a first change of the night at half-time with Ashley withdrawn after his 45-minute return and Ayoub Assal replaced him. Wimbledon fashioned a first chance of the half when Kyron Stabana’s cross was flicked on by Roscrow for Wood, who struck an acrobatic effort that flashed just over the crossbar. With 62 minutes on the clock, Roscrow was withdrawn after getting valuable game-time under his belt and David Fisher replaced him up front. Fisher was aiming to make an impression in attack after his promising displays in the FA Youth Cup, including a starring role in the win against Hanworth Villa.
There was a good chance for Wimbledon when Assal broke through the middle and though his run was brought to an end, the ball fell nicely for Stabana, but his shot was over the crossbar. Wimbledon appeared certain to score 12 minutes from time when a cross from Biler was headed back for Archie Procter, but his shot was superbly saved by Allen. Great play by Assal then set-up Finlay Macnab for a shot, but his goal-bound effort was deflected over. The chances kept on coming in the latter stages, but the frustration grew for Wimbledon as Molesey desperately clung on. Stabana had a shot deflected wide of the target and The Dons came even closer with six minutes left. Jack Rudoni’s teasing cross from a corner on the right picked out Tommy Wood and his soaring header bounced off the crossbar.
Wimbledon’s youngsters continued to press for a winner as we entered the final minutes, but that opening goal continued to prove elusive. There had been nothing wrong with Wimbledon’s overall performance on the night with only the finishing touch missing from the display.
Molesey held on and that meant a penalty shoot-out. Tommy Wood, Jack Madelin, and Husuyin Biler scored Wimbledon’s first three spot-kicks to give Wimbledon a 3-2 lead with Molesey’s second penalty having hit the woodwork. Jack Rudoni had his penalty saved, allowing the hosts to level matters, before Assal scored and the hosts successfully converted to take it into sudden death. David Fisher’s spot-kick had just enough on it to cross the line with Allen unable to stop it, before McDonnell dived to his left to deny Ashby Charles with a brilliant save. That was a fitting way to win it, McDonnell’s demonstration of quality goalkeeping deserving to take Wimbledon through.
AFC Wimbledon: Joe McDonnell, Kyron Stabana, Jack Madelin, Rod McDonald, Archie Procter, Husuyin Biler, Jack Rudoni, Finlay Macnab (Elliott Bolton), Ossama Ashley (Ayoub Assal), Adam Roscrow (David Fisher), Tommy Wood.