It’s 34-and-a-half years since a Wimbledon victory against Hull City that is still warmly remembered by Dons supporters.
Tonight's match at Hull is in a different stadium and in the third tier of English football, but the memories from 1986 will be vivid for Dons fans that were at Plough Lane on 26 April 1986.
Fierce rivals as the clubs climbed through the divisions in the mid 1980s, the Dons have not met Hull City since the victory that left Dave Bassett’s team on the brink of a remarkable triumph.
Wimbledon 3 Fashanu (36, 60), Fairweather (37)
Hull City 1 Flounders (34)
Long-term Wimbledon fans left the ground rubbing their eyes in sheer disbelief. For so long followers of a non-league side, a twelve game unbeaten run had left their favourites on the verge of the Promised Land. Victory over Hull City meant that with four Second Division games left the Dons needed just two wins to enter the top flight for the first time. Recent signing John Fashanu was the difference as his two goals, together with a strike from Carlton Fairweather, saw the hosts home.
“We couldn’t cope with Fashanu and Cork up front,” Tigers boss Brian Horton admitted afterwards. “Wimbledon are a well organised side with a great manager. If they go up it will be a great feat. Their style of play is very exciting and they played with a commitment we just could not match.”
The fairy tale, nine year, rise from the Southern League was completed with 1-0 victories over Stoke at Plough Lane and away to Huddersfield. Little Wimbledon were in the big time.
“Our success is all down to Harry (Bassett),” Alan Cork commented after promotion had been secured. “There is just something about him that keeps us plugging along. He’s not like a boss, he is like a mate. When I first came to Wimbledon he was still a player and he hasn’t changed in the years since then. It is because of him that the players have stayed with the club. Quite honestly the money we get here is terrible but I have just signed a new two year contract!”
Wimbledon: Beasant, Gage, Winterburn, Galliers, Morris, Smith (Sayer 82), Hodges, Cork, Fashanu, Sanchez, Fairweather.
The picture above shows Carlton Fairweather competing for the ball.
This was originally featured in a summer series by Stephen Crabtree.