Newcastle manager Kenny Dalglish warned that the Dons could be ‘potentially as dangerous as Barcelona’ – and Joe Kinnear’s men lived up to that billing!
As part of his look back at classic Wimbledon matches from the last 31 seasons, Stephen Crabtree has today selected Wimbledon’s impressive win at St James’ Park in the ninth part of his series.
Saturday 13th September 1997: Premier League
Newcastle United (1) 1 Barton 31
Wimbledon (1) 3 Cort 1, Perry 58, Ekoku 75
Few gave bottom of the table Wimbledon a chance on Tyneside, but the Dons showed they were not ready to surrender their Premier League place without a fight. A first league win of the season was achieved against a Newcastle United side that were just days away from a Champions League meeting with the Spanish giants.
Teenager Carl Cort (pictured) scored after a minute of his full debut and despite former Don Warren Barton equalising before half time the visitors proved clinical during the second period. While the hosts missed several chances, Chris Perry was given space to head Wimbledon back into the lead after 58 minutes before Ekoku made the points safe with a thumping volley.
“I’ve tried my hardest to get people,” manager Joe Kinnear said of his lack of success in the transfer market. “But we’re crippled by their wage demands. That’s why we’ve got 13 kids in a squad of 23.” The 13 who played at St James’ Park consisted of six former youth players, Vinnie Jones, who had been signed from Chelsea, but was the essence of Wimbledon, and six men plucked from lower division sides Millwall, Cambridge, Luton, Brentford and Norwich.
It was enough though to brush aside a Newcastle team that earned a 3-2 victory against Barcelona four days later with Tino Asprilla striking a hat-trick. Cort's rich promise as a young striker resulted in him being snapped up by Newcastle for £7 million in the summer of 2000.
Wimbledon: Sullivan, Cunningham, Kimble, Blackwell, Perry, Jones, Ardley (Castledine 40), Hughes, Gayle (Thatcher 64), Ekoku, Cort.