AFC Wimbledon’s first FA Cup tie at Plough Lane in almost 30 years takes place today against Crawley Town – and the Dons will be seeking a similar outcome to three decades ago.
On 9 January 1991, Wimbledon won a third round replay 1-0 against Aston Villa in the final minute of extra-time with a goal by Alan Cork. Fast forward almost 30 years and the Dons will be aiming to earn a place in the third round of the famous competition by winning our first FA Cup tie since moving into a new stadium at Plough Lane. Old foes Crawley, a club Wimbledon had many memorable battles with in non league days, stand in the way, of achieving that objective. Dannie Bulman and George Francomb, two of our 2016 promotion heroes, are both at Crawley, but they have not been in the match day squads recently.
Below are quotes from both managers, plus plenty more key information, ahead of today’s game (1.30 pm kick-off).
“We’ve had to put teams out recently that were capable of winning every game and we’ve won two out of the three games, which is great. With all the hard work we’ve put in, we have to make sure that we get into that third round on Sunday. We understand what it means to our fans, the FA Cup is special to this club, and it’s special to have an FA Cup tie at Plough Lane. We know how long it has been since the club had an FA Cup tie there.”
“Our focus is on Crawley - I can’t wait for it. We want to get the job done there, and then it’s Peterborough at home after that. It has been a tough couple of weeks and everyone has been involved. That is going to be the case for the next few weeks.
“It will be a tough game as Crawley are a hard-working team, John Yems is doing well there, and we will have to be right at it, but I fully believe we can go through to the third round.
“Getting fans back into the stadiums is key. As players, you want to play in front of the biggest crowds possible. At the moment, we don’t want to think about the third round yet, as we have to focus on Crawley.”
“It will be a very tough game. They have very good football people at the club with the manager and the staff there. The FA Cup is not a distraction because you want to do well in it, but there are no points on offer and it’s all done on the day, so you just have to go for broke with it.
“It’s no secret that we’ve had a few injuries, and it’s not an excuse, but everyone has to be used. We have three games coming up now with Colchester on Tuesday and Saturday away at Mansfield. People keep telling me about a big squad, but we haven’t got an Under-23s team, so a lot of the squad are still learning the game as they are young players, but you know all of this when you come into the job. You do the job the best that you can, but you have to look beyond this season for a lot of the players.”
The last meeting
Wimbledon last faced Crawley on 16 April 2016, a goal by Paul Robinson earning a 1-0 victory. The win was vital to the Dons at the time as Neal Ardley’s men moved closer to reaching the League Two play-offs, which ended in that memorable promotion party at Wembley. Going further back, a 2-1 home win against Crawley in September 2010 is warmly remembered by Dons supporters. At the time, Crawley were the big spenders in non league football and they had attempted to sign Danny Kedwell, but he stayed with the Dons – and scored the winner! Sam Hatton had earlier equalised after Crawley had taken the lead through Matt Tubbs.
Take a look below at the highlights from both of those memorable matches.
How they reached the second round
Crawley reached this stage in thrilling fashion, getting the better of an 11-goal thriller at Torquay United. Tom Nichols cracked a hat-trick for Crawley, who won it 6-5 in extra-time through an 118th minute goal by Ashley Nadesan. Of course, the Dons made it into the second round by winning a penalty shoot-out at Barrow on Thursday night.
Form Guide (last six in all competitions, starting with most recent)
Last time out
Barrow 0-0 Wimbledon (Dons won 4-2 on penalties after extra-time)
Crawley 1-2 Grimsby
Dons supporters will be able to keep in touch with the action from Plough Lane by using the BBC red button, via the channel’s iPlayer service. Please note, as Wimbledon’s FA Cup tie has been selected for broadcast coverage, it will not be available to stream via iFollow, or any other of the club's online channels. Only Emirates FA Cup Second Round fixtures not selected for coverage on BBC or BT Sport platforms will be streamed on the EFL’s iFollow streaming service.
Our commentators Mikey T and Rob Cornell will be commentating live from Plough Lane, and iFollow subscribers can listen to full coverage. Audio match passes will be available on iFollow.