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Countdown: Scales stops Sunderland in farewell season at Plough Lane

A memorable match from three decades ago

10 September 2020

As we countdown to the big League One kick-off on Saturday, we today recall an entertaining match during Wimbledon’s final campaign at the old stadium in Plough Lane.

21. Sunderland

After several top flight meetings during the 1990s, the Dons and Sunderland have become regular adversaries during recent seasons. The picture above shows John Scales firing home an 89th minute equaliser almost 30 years ago.

Saturday 22nd September 1990: Division One

Wimbledon (0) 2 Kruszynski 76, Scales 89

Sunderland (1) 2 Armstrong 38, Davenport 73

What was to prove the last season of football in SW19 had begun badly. Rocked by the news that FA Cup winning manager Bobby Gould had walked out of the club in June after failing to agree a new contract, supporters feared the worst when Sam Hammam balanced the books by sanctioning the sales of Dennis Wise and Eric Young to First Division rivals Chelsea and Crystal Palace respectively. But despite losing their opening home fixtures to Arsenal and Liverpool, the team were ready to fight for survival.

Two down with 15 minutes to play against promoted Sunderland, it took a fine volley from Detzi Kruszynski and a last minute equaliser from John Scales to earn Wimbledon a point. New manager Ray Harford praised his side’s resilience. “The spirit here is amazing – unbelievable,” he said. “Not many other teams would have dug that deep for a draw. They just do not know when they are beaten.”

With the Taylor Report requiring all-seater stadiums, chief executive David Barnard was quoted as saying: “Everyone who visits our ground knows it is not fit for the standard of football played there. We would like to move to a new stadium but we do not have the funds so a move to share with another club cannot be ruled out. We cannot provide the comfort and security demanded by the Taylor report at Plough Lane.” By the following May, 79 years of football at Plough Lane had ended.

Wimbledon: Segers, Joseph, Phelan, Barton, Scales, Curle, Gayle, Kruszynski, Fashanu (Bennett 83), Sanchez, Fairweather (Cork 65).

Dons v Black Cats (1985 to 2019)

Season

Comp

H

A

1985-86

Div2

3-0

1-2

1986-87

FAC 3

2-1

 

1990-91

Div 1

2-2

0-0

1993-94

FAC 4

2-1

 

1996-97

PL

1-0

3-1

1999-00

PL

1-0

1-2

1999-00

WC3

3-2

 

2018-19

Lge1

1-2

0-1

2019-20

Lge1

 

1-3

Total W7 D2 L5

This series is written by Stephen Crabtree, the editor of the Historical Don. To sample a copy contact him at stephecrab@aol.com .


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