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Fan-tastic! Victory at White Hart Lane paved the way to Wembley glory

An FA Cup classic for the Dons

13 October 2020

With supporters not allowed into games at the current time due to Coronavirus restrictions, we look back on a series of great Wimbledon away days.

The picture above shows Dons fans packed into the terraces at White Hart Lane, as John Fashanu takes on the Luton defence.

Saturday 9th April 1988: FA Cup semi final

Luton Town (0) 1 Harford 48

Wimbledon (0) 2 Fashanu (pen) 56, Wise 80

Suddenly thousands of new faces had joined our ranks. Although the near 26,000 crowd at White Hart Lane was the lowest attendance at an FA Cup semi final since the war, seasoned Plough Laners were amazed to find themselves surrounded by solid ranks of those wearing yellow and blue. Nearly half of those present in north London that afternoon were cheering the Dons and they left happy after Bobby Gould’s side came from behind to secure a famous victory.

Back then, both Luton and the Dons were top ten sides in the old First Division and the match was hard to call. Wimbledon attacked from the start and created at least four clear cut chances in the opening half hour but they were foiled by a mixture of poor finishing and the brilliance of young goalkeeper Andy Dibble. They were made to pay three minutes into the second half when Mick Harford put the Hatters ahead.

Famed for their fighting spirit, the Dons rallied. Dibble brought down Terry Gibson and John Fashanu rolled home the equaliser from the spot and 10 minutes from time Dennis Wise turned home Alan Cork’s cross and Wimbledon were at Wembley. Such was the lure of the FA Cup back then that supporters were to spend the weeks leading up to the final fending off calls from long lost friends begging for tickets. Seemingly everyone wanted a place below the twin towers on May 14th 1988.

Wimbledon: Beasant, Scales, Young, Thorn, Phelan, Cork, Jones, Sanchez, Wise, Fashanu, Gibson (Cunningham).

The picture below shows Dons players celebrating John Fashanu's equaliser.

Archive material on this site is written by Stephen Crabtree, the editor of The Historical Don. For a sample copy of his magazine celebrating every aspect of the club’s glorious past, email stephecrab@gmail.com .


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