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Club News

Six of the best ahead of FA Cup tie

Past meetings versus Weymouth

2 November 2022

Club News

Six of the best ahead of FA Cup tie

Past meetings versus Weymouth

2 November 2022

The trip to Weymouth on Saturday will offer a new ground to visit for many of our supporters, but there was a time when the men from Dorset were familiar foes!

With only three days left until our big Emirates FA Cup tie at Weymouth, Stephen Crabtree delved back through the archives to take a look at past games versus Weymouth. 

For 12 seasons, from 1965-66 to 1976-77, the Dons and Weymouth were Southern League rivals. With both clubs seeking a place in the Football League, the sides fought out a series of tight encounters, before Wimbledon fulfilled that dream when they were elected to Division Four in 1977. 

Below are six of the best previous encounters.

Saturday 21st August 1965: Southern League Premier Division

Weymouth (0) 1 Tizard 65

Wimbledon (0) 0

The Dons could hardly have chosen a harder debut in the toughest division outside the Football League - a game at reigning champions Weymouth. Despite the departure of manager Frank O’Farrell, who had guided the Terras to their first ever Southern League title, the hosts looked a powerful team. Missing suspended skipper Roy Law, Wimbledon held out for more than an hour before home winger Geoff Tizard found enough space to volley home the only goal at the near post.

Les Henley’s side quickly found their feet at their new level and by the time of the return, in January 1966, the two sides were neck and neck at the top of the table. A season’s best crowd of 4,100 at Plough Lane saw a 1-1 draw and in the weeks that followed the Dons briefly led the table before falling away to finish fifth, seven points behind double champions Weymouth. A fierce rivalry had begun.

Wimbledon: Kelly, Cordjohn, Willis, Martin, McCready, Davies, Peters, O’Rourke, Reynolds, Cartwright, Hodges.

Saturday 27th January 1968: Southern League Premier Division

Wimbledon (2) 2 Cooke 6, Hodges 31

Weymouth (0) 1 Camp 64

The high-flying Dons did their title hopes no harm by seeing off the dangerous Weymouth side with two first half goals at Plough Lane. Wimbledon forced five corners in the opening minutes and from the last one Ian Cooke nipped into glance home Gerry O'Rourke's perfectly placed centre. After half an hour it was two when Paul Hodges took a pass in his stride and burst between two defenders before blasting the ball into the net.

Lying seventh in the table, four points behind their hosts but with two games in hand, the Terras pulled a goal back in the second half and the home defence did well to restrict the visiting forwards to half chances from then on. While Weymouth were to drop away, the victory was part of a nine-match sequence of eight wins and draw that left the Dons clear at the top of the table before crucial defeats in the last few matches saw them overhauled by Chelmsford City.

Wimbledon: Smith, Martin, McCready, Collins, Law, Davies, Hodges, Cooke, Bailham, Ardrey (Malley), O’Rourke.

Saturday 20th December 1969: Southern League Premier Division

Weymouth (0) 1 Kearns 67

Wimbledon (0) 1 Hodges (pen) 54

Playing in a sea of slush at Weymouth’s harbour side ground, the injury-hit Dons did well to return to London with a point from a hard-fought draw. With the teams separated only by goal difference at the top of the Southern League table, the match came to life in the second half when a Stuart Davies header was handled on the line and Paul Hodges fired home from the spot. The Terras quickly got back on terms with a brilliant headed goal from Kearns that gave Graham Roope no chance.

Despite spending £1,500 on an improved drainage system in the summer, the Recreation Ground pitch was hardly fit for such a crucial game, but Les Henley appeared unbothered. “It was an important point in an important game in our quest for the title,” the Dons boss said. In the New Year, neither club could match the consistency of Cambridge United who won the title and a place in the Football League leaving Weymouth and the Dons to finish 4th and 5th respectively.

Wimbledon: Roope, Kelsall, McCready, Davies, Law, Shreeve, Hodges, Cooke, O’Mara, Collins, O’Rourke.

Saturday 14th October 1972: Southern League Premier Division

Weymouth (1) 3 Skirton 21, 72, Beer 59

Wimbledon (1) 1 O’Rourke 35

Visiting officials could only look on enviously as former Arsenal striker Alan Skirton destroyed their hopes with two debut goals. Having been forced to rebuild the side without sufficient funds to attract high quality forwards, player manager Mike Everitt’s Dons looked second best at the Rec. It was a story that was repeated several times that year as Wimbledon finished the season in a mediocre 12th place.

In an attempt raise cash, the directors launched a new weekly pools competition and stated that they were considering appealing to the High Court following a ruling preventing them holding a weekly Sunday morning market at Plough Lane. As they slowly slid down the Southern League’s pecking order, the club were a very long way from realising their dream of a place in the Football League.

Wimbledon: Guy, Marchant, Loughlan, Everitt, Young, McCready, Armstrong, Silkman, Cooke, Summerhill, O’Rourke.

Saturday 9th November 1972: Southern League Premier Division

Weymouth (0) 0

Wimbledon (0) 3 Somers 65, 85, Connell 75

Their fortunes completely transformed following the summer arrival of manager Allen Batsford, the Dons stretched their winning run in all competitions to an astonishing 18 matches as they defied atrocious conditions to win at in-form Weymouth. Continuous rain had turned the Rec pitch into a muddy mess but after the home side had dominated the early exchanges, Wimbledon took over and scored three second half goals.

“Conditions were so bad as to be unbelievable, but it was a terrific battle and full marks to both sides,” club vice chairman Jim Reid said. “I thought Kieron’s first and Roger’s goal were two of the finest I have ever seen, absolutely superb,” he added. With months, that Dons side had shocked the football world by winning an FA Cup third round tie at Burnley and taking champions Leeds United to a replay in round four.

Wimbledon: Guy, Stockley, Donaldson, Edwards, Bryant, Cooke, Rice, Bassett, Connell, Somers, Mahon.

The picture below shows Roger Connell and Keiron Somers after the win at Weymouth.

Weymouth 2.jpg

Saturday 13th March 1976: Southern League Premier Division

Wimbledon (2) 4 Holmes 18, 48, Mahon (pen) 35, Connell 83

Weymouth (0) 0

Now it was Weymouth’s turn to travel to the home of the champions. Despite the presence of the Southern League’s top scorer, ex England international Jeff Astle, in their line-up, the Terras proved no match for a Wimbledon side that was closing in on a league and cup double. Defensive blunders handed the Dons an easy three points and took them back to the top of the table on goal difference after overtaking Maidstone United.

Billy Holmes helped himself to a couple of goals, Roger Connell bagged another and worried the visiting defence all afternoon while Mick Mahon sent the ‘keeper the wrong way when given a chance from the spot. Despite their success, the Dons were not elected to the Football League that summer. It took an aggressive lobbying campaign, masterminded by new chairman Ron Noades, and a third successive title before Batsford’s boys finally took their place in Division Four.

Wimbledon: Guy, Tilley, Bryant, Donaldson, Edwards, Rice, Cooke, Leslie, Connell, Holmes, Mahon.

Cooke and Carr at Weymouth.jpg

The picture above shows Ian Cooke being tackled by Weymouth’s Graham Carr (the father of comedian Alan)

The Dons have faced Weymouth on 24 occasions in the past, winning 12 matches with Weymouth triumphing seven times.

Book your ticket for the trip to Weymouth on Saturday by visiting their website.

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