In the fifteenth part of our series featuring memorable Wimbledon matches, Stephen Crabtree today selects an eight-goal thriller that came after the Dons had been crowned champions in 2004.
Stephen, who is the Editor of the Historical Don, captures the rustic charm of a day out watching Combined Counties League football in places when the word ‘stadia’ usually meant little more than a roped off pitch on the edge of a public park.
Saturday 24th April 2004: Combined Counties League: CCL
Chessington & Hook (2) 3 Everett 1, Everard (og) 3, Wicks 71
AFC Wimbledon (1) 5 Quinn 16, Gray 75, 88, Cooper (pen) 78, (pen) 84
Eight goals, four red cards, a six-man brawl and a fantastic comeback – it was a match that captured all the madcap mayhem of Combined Counties League football at its best (or worst!). Unbeaten all season, the Dons had already been crowned champions when they travelled to Chalky Lane in April 2004, but any thoughts that this would be an end of season stroll in the sun were immediately dispelled as a pumped up Chessington side took a two-goal lead within the first three minutes.
Reduced to 10 men and 1-3 down entering the final quarter, Wimbledon refused to give up and levelled the scores before a punch up involving six players led to Hook’s Tommy Duffell and Shane Small-King being sent off. The hosts then saw another man dismissed to make it a nine versus nine contest, before Kevin Cooper and Ryan Gray scored again to complete an amazing 5-3 win.
“Chessington and Hook were well up for it and they weren’t a friendly bunch,” manager Nicky English explained at the end. “At 2-1, we were denied a blatant penalty and I told the ref it was a poor decision and he told me to stand behind the barrier. Then Gareth Graham told him he hoped he would have a better second half than the first and he got sent off. The referee was absolutely terrible. But the lads showed great spirit to get us back in it from 3-1 down with 15 minutes to go.”
AFC Wimbledon: Standen, Gibson, Quinn (Sullivan 51), Oakins, Everard, Bassey (Dobinson 70), Favata, Graham*, Small-King*, Cooper (Sidwell 85), Gray.
Pic credit: Paul Willatts.