Skip to main content Skip to site footer
Club News

Season Countdown: The start of something remarkable

Promotion feats seemed unlikely after Northampton game

3 September 2020

Holding the upper hand in their meetings during the later 1970s and early 1980s, the Dons have struggled against Northampton in recent years.

In today’s feature we look back to an opening day fixture that few foresaw as the start of something remarkable.

Saturday 28th August 1982: Division Four

Wimbledon (1) 1 Ketteridge 44

Northampton Town (1) 1 Syrett 7

Surely none of the 1,702 fans inside Plough Lane 38 years ago could have any idea that they were witnessing the start of one of football’s greatest success stories. The tales of the Crazy Gang have passed into legend now but back then the start of the new football season was greeted with apathy in SW19. The national game was in the doldrums and the just relegated Dons’ draw with a hardly impressive Northampton Town side failed to raise expectations about the months ahead.

With Gary Peters, Tony Tagg and Chris Dibble making their debuts, the Dons should have made the Cobblers pay after their goalkeeper, Neil Freeman, was sent off with seven minutes to go for handling the ball outside the box to deny Dibble a goal scoring chance. But they were unable to fashion a clear opening after Steve Ketteridge’s close range effort had equalised Dave Syrett’s seventh minute goal.

It was a disappointing result for a Wimbledon side that were amongst the bookies’ tips for the title. “They made us favourites to go down last year, so let us hope they are right again,” manager Dave Bassett quipped. “My adage is: win every game and you will be champions.” It took a mid season switch to a more direct style of play to achieve that goal and just four years after landing the 4th Division title humble Plough Lane was playing host to the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United 

Dons; Beasant, Peters, Thomas, Galliers, Tagg, Morris, Evans, Ketteridge, Leslie, Downes, Dibble.

The picture above shows Freeman saving a second-half shot by Gary Peters (2) at a largely deserted Plough Lane (photo by Paul Willatts).

Dons v Cobblers (1977 to 2018)

Season

Comp

H

A

1977-78

Div 4

2-0

3-0

1978-79

Div 4

4-1

1-1

1980-81

Div 4

1-0

1-1

1982-83

Div 4

1-1

2-2

1982-83

FA Cup

0-2

2-2

2011-12

Lge 2

0-3

0-1

2012-13

Lge 2

1-1

0-2

2013-14

Lge 2

0-2

2-2

2014-15

Lge 2

2-2

0-2

2015-16

Lge 2

1-1

1-1

2016-17

Lge 1

0-1

0-0

2017-18

Lge 1

1-3

1-0

Total W5 D11 L8

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


Advertisement block