Wally Downes said that it meant a lot to secure a landmark FA Cup victory for AFC Wimbledon and he praised the resilience of his players for making it happen.
During his post-match interview for iFollow, Wally spoke about the significance of guiding Wimbledon into the fourth round for the first time since the club was reformed.
Following the 3-2 win at Fleetwood in the Emirates FA Cup, Wally said: “It’s fabulous for everyone concerned. All that the club has ever done is make history all of the time from the moment the club was started again until today. There is history to be made all of the time and it’s brilliant to be a part of it.
“I am highly delighted to be in the hat for the next round. It was very fulfilling to do it in the way that we did, which was in the 90th minute, and then to hang on in injury-time. It was a very resilient performance. At 2-2, I was thinking, ‘let’s get them back to our place’ because they were in the ascendancy. We had looked dangerous on the break all day, but at 2-2 they were on top and they were playing well. We had our backs against the wall so I was looking at a draw really."
Wally added that he warned the players at half-time about the challenges they could face in the second-half - and he was delighted with the response.
“We spoke at half-time and talked about how the FA Cup always turns around on you," said Wally. "Being 1-0 up I said, ‘let’s make sure we are professional so that when the tide does turn and they come at us, we are man enough to stand up to it’. We got the second goal, which I thought would give us breathing space, but you know things will change in the FA Cup.
"You know that teams will throw caution to the wind and go forward because it’s the last chance to stay in the competition. You know it’s probably not the end at 2-0, so when we lost our shape a little bit and the penalty was given against us,it was important that we had the capacity to dig in. To go on again and show the belief to get the third goal and the victory was terrific for the players."
Kwesi Appiah notched a dramatic winner in the 90th minute and Wally saluted his work-rate in leading the line up front on his own.
“Kwesi made Anthony’s goal as well," said Wally. "It has been difficult for him to play up front on his own and I want to get someone up there with him. The formation that we played here today and at Portsmouth was forced upon us really, but I think we played well in both games. I want to get someone up there to share the load, as working up there on your own against two uncompromising centre backs is difficult. To keep going up there on his own and get the winner was terrific for him."
The full interview with Wally is available to watch on our iFollow channel by clicking on the link above.