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Cup Classic: Dons recapture spirit of the past by giving Liverpool a scare

Number 26 in 'Crabtree's Classics'

26 July 2020

Throughout July, Stephen Crabtree, the Editor of The Historical Don, has been selecting a memorable match from each season over the last three decades.

In the 26th part of his series, he looks back on a memorable FA Cup night at Kingsmeadow that had an echo of the past.

Monday 5th January 2015: FAC3

AFC Wimbledon (1) 1 Akinfenwa 36

Liverpool (1) 2 Gerrard 12, 62

It was a game that lived up to the pre-match hype, having evoked memories of the Dons’ 1-0 FA Cup final win over Liverpool in 1988. Meeting at the third round stage this time, fourth tier Wimbledon gave the Premier League Reds a run for their money before bowing out, beaten by two classy goals from Steven Gerrard. The visiting skipper nodded his side into the lead after 12 minutes but it was Neal Ardley’s men who had the better chances during the rest of the first half.

Wimbledon came close to an equaliser after a melee in the area resulted in Sean Rigg’s volleyed effort being tipped over the bar by Simon Mignolet. Minutes later the ball fell to top scorer Matt Tubbs inside the area, but the striker knocked the ball wide with just the goalkeeper to beat. The League Two side did level on 36 minutes when Adebayo Akinfenwa slid the ball home from three yards after Barry Fuller had hit the bar from a George Francomb corner.

Hopes of a famous victory were dashed when former England skipper Gerrard stepped up to curl a perfect free-kick past James Shea in the 62nd minute and, despite further openings at both ends, it proved enough to see the Reds through. “I’m astonished that I am a bit disappointed with the result,” chief executive Erik Samuelson said afterwards. “I did not think we would be in that position, but we matched them. It seemed to me that until Liverpool got their second goal we equalled them.”

AFC Wimbledon: Shea, Fuller, Goodman, Barrett, Kennedy, Francomb (Sutherland 85), Bulman, Moore (Pell 85), Rigg (Azeez 79), Tubbs, Akinfenwa.

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