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Match Reports

Dons double completes comeback!

Victory at the Cherry Red Records Stadium

9 August 2023

AFC Wimbledon completed a sensational 2-1 comeback to cause a Carabao Cup upset as we stunned Coventry City.

For so long it appeared that the Dons would be left frustrated in pursuit of a knockout upset, with Matty Godden having opened the scoring.

However what came about in the final knockings of the game will be talked about for quite some time as substitutes Omar Bugiel and Ryan McLean turned the match on its head to shock our Championship opponents.

Nik Tzanev certainly staked his claim on a night of strong performances, making several saves to keep us in the contest.

We now look ahead to the prospect of the second round draw after a memorable night under the Plough Lane lights.

Johnnie Jackson rang the changes for this knockout tie as Tzanev started in goal, with James Ball coming in for his debut and Aron Sasu being handed his first senior start. Lee Brown also made his return from injury, whilst Harry Pell was named in midfield.

This saw Alex Bass, Alex Pearce, Armani Little, Josh Neufville, Josh Davison and Bugiel all drop to a bench that also featured McLean.

The Dons started brightly and could’ve had the lead inside the opening five minutes, with James Tilley slicing Sasu’s cutback wide after the former broke into the area. Haji Wright saw his effort easily saved by Tzanev up the other end as Coventry grew into the game.

Our goalkeeper had to be at his best soon after however, springing off his line well to deny Matty Godden after Gustavo Hamer had played the striker in behind.

It was the visitors who took the lead however, with the referee pointing to the penalty spot after Joe Lewis was adjudged to have committed a foul. Godden picked himself up and stuck it just about past the reach of Tzanev.

The frontman was posing a constant threat and was prevented from earning a brace soon after as Tzanev deflected away a low effort with his legs. Up the other end Tilley was getting the better of his full-back but couldn’t quite pick out a teammate in the box.

Hamer was next to have a go for the visitors, with his low drive being palmed wide by our number one. He was then called into action once more to keep out a low effort from a corner that was followed quickly by two good defensive blocks from our backline.

Brown almost found an equaliser before the break, heading over Ali Al-Hamadi’s floated cross. The second-half started in a similar fashion to how the first ended, with Tzanev having to stand up well to deny Coventry one on one.

Davison and Neufville entered the fray just past the hour mark as we sought a way back into the game. The away side continued to hold firm however, seeing the Dons roll the dice again as Little, Bugiel and McLean made their way onto the field for the final 10 minutes.

Tzanev was having a brilliant game for Wimbledon, as he added to his catalogue of saves with a double stop to keep us in the game.

The game needed a moment of magic if the Dons were to turn things on its head – and luckily that came just four minutes from time. A ball broke to Bugiel on the edge of the area, with our number 18 firing in a missile of a half volley that left Brad Collins with no chance.

And things got even better as the game entered stoppage time, with McLean getting on the end of a cross to send Plough Lane into absolute raptures!

There was still time for Tzanev to pull of another stunning save as Wimbledon completed a remarkable comeback and upset.

AFC Wimbledon: Nik Tzanev, Lee Brown, Jake Reeves, Ryan Johnson, James Tilley (Ryan McLean), Harry Pell (Omar Bugiel), Ali Al-Hamadi (Josh Davison), James Ball (Armani Little), Aron Sasu (Josh Neufville), Joe Lewis, Isaac Ogundere

Attendance: 4,781 (1,189 away)

PICS: Ian Stephen (Pro Sports Images)

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