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An unlikely hero between the sticks

14 years since Luke Garrard accepted a different kind of challenge

5 January 2022

He will be plotting our downfall in the Emirates FA Cup on Saturday, but it was a completely different story 14 years ago when Luke Garrard showed his willingness to go the extra mile for Wimbledon.

Now Boreham Wood manager, Luke spent four successful years with the Dons between 2006 and 2010, becoming a favourite with our fans for his committed midfield displays that helped us climb the non league pyramid.

Ahead of Saturday’s match, Stephen Crabtree recalls the day when Luke accepted a very different challenge between the sticks.

Luke Garrard keeper.jpg

Saturday 10th November 2007: Ryman Premier League

AFC Wimbledon (1) 1 Finn 16

AFC Hornchurch (0) 0

Kingsmeadow. Attendance: 2,576

A larger-than-life character, he was always willing to go the extra mile for the Wimbledon cause. Having played at right back and in midfield, Luke Garrard was not slow to answer the call when manager Terry Brown was seeking a goalkeeping replacement 14 years ago. Replacing the injured Andy Little, he kept a second half clean sheet as the Ryman League Premier play-off chasing Dons beat AFC Hornchurch 1-0.

“Brownie asked at half time if anyone would go in goal and because I am a bit of a clown I put my hand up to do it,” Garrard revealed. “He held up a pair of gloves and said that if I could catch them I was in. I did and he said; ‘That’s good enough for me!’ My handling is fine and I knew I would be alright on crosses but I knew I would be in trouble if they started shooting. Thankfully the defenders did a great job and stopped the ball coming too close to me.”

“The injury to Andy Little is a big blow to both Andy and the club,” the manager admitted afterwards. “He had broken two fingers and dislocated two others and we had no conventional cover so I was pleased that Luke stepped into the breach. He showed not only his dedication to the club but also his love of the game with a typically brave and eccentric performance.”

AFC Wimbledon: Little (Salmon 46), Garrard, Haswell, Quinn, Goodliffe, Howard, Ferguson (Savage 70), Leberl, Webb, de Bolla, Finn.

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