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Number 18: A bittersweet FA Trophy triumph from 2007

18 July 2020

For the 18th part of his series, Stephen Crabtree has selected a match when the Dons upset the odds in a national knockout competition, but it was overshadowed by the ‘Darlogate’ affair.

Stephen, who is the Editor of the Historical Don, recalls the match when Roscoe D’Sane scored the only goal of the game at Gravesend (picture by Paul Willatts).

Saturday 13th January 2007: FA Trophy second round

Gravesend and Northfleet (0) 0

AFC Wimbledon (0) 1 D’Sane 56

It was a bittersweet triumph. Having stunned the full-time professionals of Conference National side Gravesend with an FA Trophy win, within weeks the Ryman League Dons had been thrown out of the competition for fielding an ineligible player. The underdogs missed opportunities to take the lead before the break, but 11 minutes into the second half Dave Anderson’s side took the lead when Roscoe D’Sane turned home Antony Howard’s cross from four yards out.

“I just remember Frankie crossing it and I was going to take a touch, but I deflected it and it went into the net,” the goal scorer said at the end. “There were some heroic performances today. I thought Andy Little was man of the match for the way he commanded his box. Gravesend are fourth in the Conference so we had to be at our best and the fans drove us on to get the result.”

Sadly, the club had failed to get international clearance when Jermaine Darlington, who had last played for Cardiff City, signed the previous month. Eighteen league points were deducted and the Dons were expelled from two cup competitions before a high profile campaign that eventually involved Prime Minister Tony Blair saw the points penalty reduced to three on appeal. If that left a sour taste, nothing could erase the memories of that famous win at Stonebridge Road.

Dons: Little, Sweeney, Darlington, Rooney, Lorraine, Howard, Garrard, Daly, Grieves (Barnes 72), D’Sane (Goddard 90), Cook.

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