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The Final Countdown: When the Dons upset Champions Arsenal

The Gunners were beaten at Selhurst Park just months after winning the title

22 September 2021

Ahead of tonight’s Carabao Cup tie at the Emirates Stadium, we’ve been recalling Dons victories against Arsenal and we conclude the series with a memorable win from almost 23 years ago.

Stephen Crabtree reminds us of the day when then Champions Arsenal suffered a humbling defeat at Selhurst Park!

Saturday 21st November 1998: Premier League

Wimbledon (0) 1 Ekoku 77

Arsenal (0) 0

Selhurst Park (Attendance: 26,003)

It was the start of a run of home wins that were the stuff of dreams. When Efan Ekoku delighted the blue half of Selhurst Park with a late winner to down the champions, the Dons were riding high in the title race. And after beating Chelsea in the League Cup quarter final, third tier Manchester City in the FA Cup as well as Coventry City, Liverpool, Charlton Athletic and Derby County in successive Premier League games there was talk of a Wembley appearance and a place in Europe.

“It’s another great scalp for us and the success story just goes on and on for this club,” manager Joe Kinnear said after his side had beaten the Gunners. “We are on a good run at the moment and I hope it continues. My lads just love playing against the big clubs and they deserve all they get at present. European football is within our grasp and I hope we can maintain our form.”

However, the dream turned sour in the New Year. Beaten by Tottenham in both the FA and League Cups, when Kinnear suffered a heart attack before a game at Sheffield Wednesday in early March it was the beginning of the end of the Premier League Dons. Replaced by the disastrous Egil Olsen in the summer of 1999, Wimbledon bowed out of the top flight after 14 seasons and within two years they had been forced to start again.

Wimbledon: Sullivan, Cunningham, Thatcher, Blackwell, Perry, Earle, Hughes, Gayle (Ekoku 75), Leaburn, Euell, Ainsworth (Ardley 75).

The picture above shows Efan Ekoku being congratulated by his team-mates after his winner and below is Joe Kinnear in the technical area next to Man City's Joe Royle. 

Kinnear versus Arsenal.jpg

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