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A victorious return to the Valley after three decades

A memorable win from the 2016/17 season

28 July 2020

In the 28th part of his series, Stephen Crabtree recalls the significance of Wimbledon’s return to the Valley after an absence of more than 30 years.

The picture above shows Tyrone Barnett rising highest in the box to head home the winner and you can read a summary of the game below by Stephen, who is the Editor of the Historical Don.

Saturday 17th September 2016: League One

Charlton Athletic (1) 1 Lookman 8

AFC Wimbledon (0) 2 Poleon 78, Barnett 85

It was the afternoon when Neal Ardley’s men started to believe they could compete at League One level. Having been victorious just once in seven attempts following promotion the previous summer, AFC Wimbledon scored two late goals to win a local derby at the Valley and delight their fanatical travelling support. The triumph was the start of an eight-game unbeaten run that took the Dons into the play-off places.

The Addicks took an early lead when Ademola Lookman cut in from the left and struck the ball past James Shea from 20 yards. If the goalkeeper was beaten on that occasion he went on to produce a series of excellent stops to keep the visitors in the game, before Dominic Poleon’s trickery and powerful shot led to a 78th minute equaliser. It got worse for Charlton just seven minutes later as Barry Fuller's cross was emphatically headed in by Tyrone Barnett.

“We kept going, stayed in the game, and kept Charlton to one goal,” Neal Ardley commented. “It gives you a platform if you can get a couple of chances to do it. Obviously, it was an individual bit of brilliance and a fantastic header. (Charlton boss) Russell Slade said to me as we walked out of the tunnel that there will be no one in Wimbledon today! It was immense and a great occasion for the fans. We are delighted that they will be going home buzzing after the last 20 minutes.”

AFC Wimbledon:  Shea, Fuller, Robinson, Charles, Meades, Francomb (Elliott 59), Bulman, Reeves, Barcham (Barnett 76), Poleon, Taylor (Whelpdale 82).

Take a look below at the highlights.

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