Tag Archives: Callum Willock

AFC Wimbledon 1 Crawley Town 1 – A Match Report

At last a ‘normal’ Conference home game… Under the lights, in front of a decent crowd who generated a good atmosphere, which was good, as it was my Dads first visit to an AFC Wimbledon game. His, along with my cousins attendance meant I could get a neutral’s perspective of the game (well, my cousin bought a pair of white Dons shorts, so I’m not sure whether they could really have watched the game without bias… plus the chips on offer in the bar beforehand might have swayed them further…).

More on them in my Second Thoughts article later in the week. This is all about the game. Maybe because it was dark when I entered the ground (hasn’t done that for a while), but Kingsmeadow looked stunning under lights. The glow of the pitch, which looked as though it had been painted so luminous was it, with fans all round the pitch in a crowd that would have been pretty impressive last season for a Saturday game.

After drawing our last three games I think most fans harboured realistic expectations of grabbing a win. Yet it was Crawley who created the first half chance after two minutes. Jefferson Louis, who blew hot and cold throughout the game but looked impressive on occasions, picked up the ball on the left. He tried to cut inside and power a shot across Pullen into the top right corner, but got body shape all wrong and struck high and wide.

Two minutes later it was Danny Kedwell’s turn to lay down a marker. Picking up the ball on the right, he powered into the box and from a tight angle tried to blast the ball in at the near post. Crawley keeper Simon Rayner was alive to the threat, quickly getting down and diverting the effort away for a corner. Kedwell seemed to be involved in everything going forward for Wimbledon, moments later striking over from 25 yards.

Next it was Kedwell the creator, winning the ball on the edge of the Crawley box when it seemed certain to be pumped upfield, allowing Steven Gregory to slam wide of the left post. Then he set up Lewis Taylor, the next to fail to find the target from around twenty yards, after ten minutes. It would be another ten minutes or so before another chance came Wimbledon’s way (a Kedwell swivel shot from distance flying over), in that time the game settled down, with the Dons trying to play their crisp passing football – yet largely failing, Kedwell having to do too much work in his own half meaning clearances had no outlet. Crawley on the other hand seemed happy to try and hit the home team on the break.

Just after the half hour Wimbledon finally managed another shot on target. Garrard made a rare forage forward down the right, finding the bye-line and standing up a cross which in itself caused Crawley few problems. At least it should have done. A couple of half-hearted swats at the ball saw it fall to Luke Moore on the edge of the area, he hit his effort firmly but straight at Rayner who held easily.

The next chance, well I can’t really describe it as a chance… perhaps three weeks ago when we seemed to win a penalty every time we entered the opposition area. Hussey burst through on the left and seemed able to catch the ball before it crossed the line. Yet a Crawley defender made half a move towards him, he felt the contact and felt the need to go to ground. This was neither a ‘pulled down like Main at Grays’ penalty, or a ‘hauled back like Kedwell at Grays’ penalty… in fact to be honest – it wasn’t a penalty.

Which made me think about Erik Samuelson’s programme notes concerning ethics. As I saw Hussey’s fall to ground (I wouldn’t call it a dive – there is a difference, yet neither could it be described as a slip… perhaps the best definition was he was ‘baulked’), it could have been given as a penalty, we have seen them given, and yet… Don’t get me wrong, I’m not accusing Hussey of cheating, it’s just that he is one of a few of our players who are strong in the challenge anywhere else on the pitch, and yet wilt under any threat of physical contact in the box.

Drawing a foul is a genuine art, in other words using skill and pace to cause a defender to foul, yet we seem to have a few who are stretching this definition to the limit. We have been awarded more than our fair share so far this season, and any referee allocated to us will be more than aware of this. We are pushing our luck at the moment – we have already seen a yellow card dished out to Mr Luckless aka Elliott Godfrey when he was genuinely hacked down at Tamworth. Does this fall into the win-at-all-costs bracket we are seeking to avoid?

If you were looking for an idea of how a manager with a less than perfect definition of what is ethical would behave, you only had to keep one eye on Steve Evans in the visitors dugout. Constantly prowling around his technical area, the fiery Scottish fraudster looked capable of murder any moment. The linesman on his side seemed happy to take his word for a quiet life, and his assault of the poor fourth officials eardrums probably merited a trip to the stands, yet didn’t draw the expected words of disapproval from the referee after his attention had been drawn to it.

Evans was a happy man moments after Hussey’s tumble though, as Jefferson Louis crumbled under a Paul Lorraine challenge that looked nothing but fair. Louis picked himself up to line up the free-kick himself, twenty yards out and central. The Dons wall looked solid and difficult to beat, Louis struck a firm low effort straight at them, and the inevitable happened. The ball hit a Dons boot and rather than bounce clear it screwed into the back of the net, poor Jamie Pullen left with his weight on the wrong foot and rooted.

I have admired the Dons response to adversity so far this campaign, and while eventually Wimbledon came good, certain players showed an over-eagerness in the five minutes after the goal. Kennedy Adjei, who put another superb shift in, chose this five minute period to concentrate on giving the ball away. At least Adjei had a decent game on the whole, there were one or two midfielders (Gregory and Hatton) who didn’t seem to be at the races by their own high standards.

While the Dons didn’t look like scoring at the end of the first half, they wasted no time getting in to the Crawley box at the beginning of the second. Lewis Taylor burst into the area before being dragged back, then Steven Gregory was clearly pushed. Neither was given of course, we probably won’t get another penalty again… Have we seen the beginning of an anti-Dons conspiracy by Conference referees?!

This all happened within the first five minutes of the half, as did a Kennedy Adjei shot from distance that flew wide and high from 30 yards. The reason I keep mentioning these efforts, most of which didn’t threaten the Crawley goal, was to highlight the lack of composure our midfielders showed when in shooting positions. In most cases they seemed to have time yet still snapped a shot off way too quickly. I can’t be sure we will see a repeat of some of the goals we scored from distance last season. Or even another Luke Moore special…

Moore did manage to hit the target with a scorching right foot shot from the left edge of the area that curled towards the top right corner, unfortunately Rayner saw it all the way and pushed it round the post. Then Chris Hussey found Sam Hatton in space on the right, who tried an effort with his left foot that fizzed across the face of goal and just wide of the left post.

Ex-Dons trialist Callum Willock had started for Crawley supporting Louis up front, and had shown little of the form that had earned him a contract offer. In fact it looked as though things had turned out well for Wimbledon, as Willock spent most of the game falling over before being hauled off later in the half. Yet he did have one chance, a strike from the edge of the box that flew at Pullen but wobbled about in the air until the Dons keeper grabbed it.

Shortly after that Crawley wasted another chance as Thomas Pinault led a three on three break, only to tamely shoot wide when he had much better options available to him. The Dons then crafted a fantastic opportunity for an equalizer when Kedwell carried the ball forwards through the centre, and as Crawley men backed off slid an intelligent ball to Hatton on the right. The Dons midfielder got his head down and struck past the keeper, only to see the ball bounce off the bar and over.

Hatton had a poor game, but Brown managed to get at least twenty minutes of a performance out of him after a double substitution led to a reshuffle. The ineffective Garrard and tiring Taylor were withdrawn, replaced with Derek Duncan and Ross Montague. Hatton switched to right back, with Hussey moving to the right side of midfield and Moore dropping back to behind the front two of Montague and Kedwell. Derek Duncan moved to the space on the left vacated by Hussey.

The move paid off straight away. Chris Hussey’s move to the right allowed him to cut inside and deliver a deep cross to the far post. Kedwell shrugged off his man to get a head on the ball, which bounced up and over Rayner before dropping into the far corner of the net. Finally Wimbledon had some reward.

The Dons got their heads down in search of a winner. Derek Duncan charged into space on the left and floated a ball over that Kedwell relished attacking at the far stick. He managed to divert his effort over Rayner, but with no-one on hand to turn it in a Crawley defender had the easy job of heading it off the line. Montgomery was causing all sorts of problems and looks the ideal partner for Kedwell, managing to set up Adjei to once again strike off target.

That for all their effort was the last chance Wimbledon created, in act it was Crawley who almost nicked it late on following a huge long throw, flicked on at the near post that was somehow not turned in by an unidentified Crawley man at the far post.

This would have been harsh on the Dons, who perhaps should have won on weight of pressure alone, but have hopefully learned their lesson as far as taking their chances go. Kedwell produced once more, but until a midfielder notches I would imagine they will find themselves getting a bit of finishing practice in training this week…

Tagged , , , , , , ,

AFC Wimbledon v Crawley Town – A Match Preview

crawleyThe visit of Crawley Town marks the first ‘normal’ home game we have had this season, not counting all ticket games against fellow ex-League clubs or the Salisbury game, which was our first game that wasn’t all ticket. Tomorrow (and Saturdays game against Histon) will give us a benchmark of what the attendance and atmosphere is going to be like for the rest of the season.

Despite the short distance, how many Crawley fans are going to make the journey? Will we really give them the entire KRE as we did for Salibury? I only ask because I don’t know whether the moveable barriers are sufficient in the BSP even if its only a temporary measure to split the end in two. If anyone knows, please leave a comment to clarify all this (and while your there let us know whether the new away pen in the JSS will have two barriers to cater for large and small away followings…).

Enough babbling. I’m sure you all want me to reveal what I know about our visitors. Well, I can’t legally write my first article of the season concerning Crawley without first mentioning their manager, Convicted Fraudster Steve Evans. Evans as we all remember, was responsible for not only cheating every team that Boston faced during their victorious Conference campaign but stealing from all of us by lying about how much money certain players were paid, allowing him to use money that should have gone to the taxman to be channelled back into the playing fund.

‘Hang on Anony Don’, I may hear one or two of you say (if you happen to be sitting in the same room as me when you read this), ‘All of this happened a while ago now, shouldn’t he be given another chance?’ Well he has been, and has managed to add to his reputation thanks to a shocking disciplinary record that has seen him sent from the dugout on numerous occasions. Perhaps the most memorable being the occasion at Grimsby where Evans had to be dragged out of the stadium by the police mid-match.

Evans last trip to the FA, only last week, has seen him sentenced to a three game ban from contacting his players during matchdays, plus an extra ten game touch-line suspension. Amazingly, the Crawley board have sprung to his defence. Apparently as Evans hasn’t been charged for any offence over the last fifteen months, this shows some signs of improvement. Of course a large proportion of those fifteen months were taken up by two close seasons, but why let that get in the way of a big number?

Crawley chairman Vic Marley described the ban as ‘…more to do with his reputation from the past…’, a comment that makes me think ‘quite right too’. The difference between a club like Crawley and ourselves is clarified further when you consider Terry Brown’s comment last season, when he told reporters that Erik Samuelson would probably sack him if he tried to tap up a player (in other words speak to or otherwise influence a player prior to an official approach being made). This goes on in the game all over the place, but I have no doubt that if a club made a serious complaint, no matter who the manager was, it would be investigated seriously.

Maybe that is why AFC Wimbledon have been consistently attracting decent crowds season after season, whereas Crawley have great difficulty bringing in a four figure crowd when things are going against them. It’s no insult intended against the Crawley fans themselves, but my question to them must be ‘Do you think your manager, and to a lesser extent chairman and board of directors, put off the casual fan from turning up on a matchday?’

Thats five paragraphs off my chest. Oh, and Evans has the opportunity to appeal, so his ban doesn’t kick in just yet. So those in the JSS have the opportunity to direct their views to the man himself. I’m sure he will appreciate any advice given. Especially regarding his weight…

Crawley had to rebuild their squad over the summer amid rumours of financial difficulties, although their situation seemed nowhere as chaotic as Ebbsfleets. They managed to sign a half decent albeit journeyman striker in Jefferson Louis, who managed his most stable season for years by hitting fifteen goals for Wrexham last season, yet has only managed one goal from his ten appearances for Crawley so far.

This single goal makes Louis joint top scorer amongst the current squad which probably explains a lot from a team that has only managed one goal away from home so far (although Oxford’s recent signing Jamie Cook notched three for Crawley before his move last month). In replacing Cook, Crawley have turned to a familiar name to Dons fans in Callum Willock…

Willock looked the real deal in his two trial appearances, and only missed out on getting a deal thanks to his apparently large wage demands and requirement of a long term contract in order to ‘look after his family’. So either Willock has decided his family can make do with shopping at Lidl or Crawley have taken the money they received for Cook and found a large sum down the back of the sofa. Desperation on both sides may have played a part, after all it is September and most players and clubs are pretty settled by now. Besides, apparently Willock has accepted a one month deal… which is what TB offered him at the Meadow. Never mind, we have Monty now…

Willock’s introduction to the Crawley fans was dramatic, scoring the winner in a 2-1 victory over Kettering. The scorer of Crawley’s first goal, Charlie Ademeno, faces a fitness test before this game although the source of this information was the BBC website so it could turn out to be an entertainment story about the cast of Charlies Angels fitting in a trip to Loch Ness or something…

Another possible returnee, again according to BBC Sport, is Glenn Wilson. Wilson played a couple of games on loan under DA at around the same time Jay Conroy had his first spell at the club, the pair joining on loan from Crystal Palace for a month. I personally cannot remember Wilson at all. I think he played a couple of games but was never going to shine as bright as Conroy’s twinkley blue eyes!

The Dons are guaranteed to move up at least one place with a win this evening, but maybe will move up a few places judging by the congestion from the play-off places downwards. With a game in hand things are looking up for the side, the young players are learning lessons with no pressure on them to push for a promotion spot (at least not from most of us…), and look good for a result against transitional Crawley, who have been awful away from home this year (except for beating Cambridge…).

Our O/S has been a bit quiet on the squad front, but I would imagine we will see pretty much the same lineup as we did against Ebbsfleet. Maybe Monty could come in for his first start in place of Main. We know Terry is looking to make changes, but the strength and energy in some of the young players at this early stage suggests they don’t need to be rested. Have you noticed Chris Hussey flagging recently? Gregory and Hatton probably cover more ground than anyone, and do you see them puffing towards the end of games?

Maybe only Lewis Taylor from the younger players looks tired at times, but as he missed virtually an entire season last year I would imagine it may take a few weeks still until he gets properly match fit. Jon Main seems to suffer, but on the whole his form is on the floor at the moment so its hard to tell whether he is tired or just downhearted towards the end of games.

I expect Main to start on the bench tonight. Nothing against him, but it’s about time that we saw how Kedwell and Montague operate together. And its a toss up who will start on the left from Duncan or Adjei. Naturally Im going for Moore in that case. So I’m expecting the following lineup…












NB – Jay Conroy’s appeal has come through and it has gone against him. I can only express my complete outrage in a self-righteous manner in a way only someone who wasn’t at the game and didn’t see the incident could…

Tagged , , , ,

The General Specific (Thursday 10th September ’09)

So the big news of the day is… Callum Willock signs for Crawley Town. Aww, he obviously wasn’t as good as he appeared to be… Talking of an elusive fourth striker that we actually ended up signing, Ross Montague is ready for a place on the bench come Saturday. More about that in the Cambridge preview, but needless to say Mainy is now in the last chance saloon. A performance is now required from him for fear he may be starting on the bench at Ebbsfleet.

Let’s catch up with some club news. As many of you may have noticed, we didn’t line up against Wrexham tonight. And by the way BBC, the game wasn’t cancelled, as the game was never due to be played tonight to begin with. Perhaps they will turn the blame back on the Press Association, but the truth is the BBC Sport website always manage some kind of calamity when reporting the Dons, when they can be bothered to report on us at all… and I’m sure Sam Hutton and Chris Huffy would agree…

If anyone turned up at the Meadow expecting a game, well, they got one. The Under 18’s took on Kentish Town tonight in the FA Youth Cup, winning 2-1 and thus progressing to the next round. While not quite the game they would have expected, at least they made it out tonight, rather than a certain blogger who liked the idea in principle yet bailed at the last minute. I’m sure I am the one who missed out. Both goals came from James Cottee, who added to the two he scored in last weeks 5-2 win over Harrow Borough in their opening Ryman Youth League game. By the way, thanks to Trebor for posting this info on Old Centrals or I would still be in the dark myself.

The U19’s also played their first game this season, beating Charlton Athletic Trust 4-2 in The Conference Youth League Cup. Regular league games begin next Wednesday, the Under 19’s being the side least likely to get the Anonymous treatment thanks to their regular 2pm Wednesday kick off time.

Another Dons team I am yet to see this season is AFC Wimbledon ladies, however after watching the England ladies unfortunately heavy defeat to a much superior Germany side this afternoon I am determined to make it to a game at some point this season. However as Sunday is just about the only day I get to spend completely with my wife, I’m not sure she’ going to be happy! The Ladies succumbed to their first defeat on Sunday, going down 3-2 at home to Crawley Wasps after three straight wins.

Finally the Reserves, for who Marcus Gayle has been helping nurse Ross Montague back to fitness. Montague managed a goal in the 4-0 victory over Uxbridge, before playing in last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Wealdstone. Elton Gjoni has been on fire, hitting the opening goal in the Wealdstone game, adding to the braces he hit against Basingstoke and Uxbridge. So Gayley’s boys remain unbeaten heading into Saturdays game at home to Chalfont St Peter as they begin the defence of their Suburban League Cup trophy.

Finally, a Wimbledon XI featuring certain first team players who haven’t had much in the way of match action this season took the field against Godalming on Monday. As the game was only announced last minute your Anony Don couldn’t make it there, yet the boys won 2-0 as Lewis Taylor and Ollie Killick goals sandwiched a Luke Garrard penalty miss.

New shorts – Cambridge tickets are still on sale tomorrow, remember none on sale on the day. Look out for the Cambridge preview tomorrow. Finally, as Chris Hussey is on standby for England C’s trip to Hungary can we all keep our fingers crossed for some kind of misfortune to befall the current left-sided full back…

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

AFC Wimbledon 2 Fulham XI 1 – A Match Report

This game wasn’t really men against boys… perhaps boys and some men against boys. Although Fulham keeper Pascal Zuberbuhler, with experience of World Cups and Euro Championships under his belt, probably pushed the average up a few years. However, Zubi was the only recognizable name on the field… at least as far as Fulham were concerned.

Wimbledon had two men who were in the last chance saloon as far as a contract is concerned. Big Callum Willock actually turned up for training on Monday, so was rewarded with an hour tonight to show what he can do. Now we all know what I think about Sebb Brown, who was due for a half hour turnout, so in a completely one off feature called SebbWatch I decided to record his every involvement in the game. I had the impression that Brown was as an accident prone goalkeeper who had somehow bumbled through three trial appearances without making an error that lead to a goal being conceded.

ffc 005But Terry, and presumably his goalkeeping adviser (Still Paul Priddy?) seemed content enough to give him another chance tonight, and it only required an accident free evenings work to gain a contract via the back door. Perhaps there was something I was missing, something he had shown plenty of in training but for some reason just hadn’t translated itself during his match appearances?

Of course an Anonymous Don match report wouldn’t be complete without an update on my own personal circumstances, and I won’t disappoint. To be honest it had been a completely normal day with the exception of lunch time when I somehow snapped the filling on my front tooth while biting into a plum at lunch. A quick call to the dentist revealed that not only do I have to spend £££’s getting it fixed, but I have to wait until the 6th August until I can get it done.

The problem is, I am currently growing out my wavy hair, and it doesn’t always work. Plus I’m going through a ‘chubby phase’. Then there’s my beloved beard. And I wear clothes that look like they have been picked out at random from Oxfam (but are surprisingly expensive…). None of these on their own would be a problem, but the combination of all of them together, plus the chipped tooth, makes me look… how can I put this? Well, on a bad day I could probably pass for a Bromley fan…

The local midges know a pikey when they see one, and made a bee-line for me as soon as I entered the ground, before somehow realising their mistake and leaving me alone. Either that or I mistook flykiller spray for my deodorant… They did spend a great deal of time hovering in the lights in front of the John Smith Stand, almost hypnotising really, if there hadn’t been a quite decent football game going on beyond them.

Midfield Action

Midfield Action

Fulham’s young side were eager to keep the ball on the deck and play to their strengths, whereas Wimbledon played a hybrid game to begin with, working the ball through midfield with some excellent movement, but also looking to make use of Willock’s aerial ability. With an excellent touch for a big guy, Willocks was to be a thorn in Fulham’s side from the off. He was to create the Dons first opening on ten minutes, some nifty footwork taking him inside a defender before a left footed finish which was tame at best, flying harmlessly into Zuberbuhlers arms.

At this stage the young Fulham were already on the back foot, and only fashioned their first chance of sorts approximately fifteen minutes in when their number 6 (sorry, no names again tonight for the Fulham boys…) let fly from distance, curling harmlessly well over the bar. If Fulham thought this was a rangefinder that would help lever them back in the game, they were mistaken only minutes later as Wimbledon won a corner on the right. Chris Hussey trotted over to take, and fed the ball to Sam Hatton, level with the edge of the area. The change of angle fooled Fulham, and Hatton curled an immaculate ball onto Willock’s head, the big man rising unchallenged to bury his header.

So far so good. It served for a mini-fightback from Fulham, their striker no. 9 found himself clear in the box, blinked, and found Jamie Pullen on top of him. The Dons stopper spread himself well to deny the panic stricken finish that followed. A couple of minutes later their number 10 found himself clear in the right channel, only to direct his shot wide at the near post. Willock showed his aerial strength to divert a clearance into the path of Lewis Taylor, twenty yards out and to the right of goal. His early shot was a good idea and firmly hit, but sadly too close to the Fulham keeper who saved easily. Still a great move and a great example of the strength Willock has, although interestingly he sometimes appeared to hold a lot back in challenges – perhaps as a response to referees calling fouls against him in the past? As far as niggly fouls were concerned in this game, it was Fulham who were giving them away left, right and centre – and usually down to their inability to control Willock.

After some more delightful football from the Dons, Taylor was released down the right and his tantalizing cross just evaded Ricky Wellard who seemed destined to score and was millimetres away from making contact. The Dons defence had remained alert throughout this spell of dominance, until of all people Ben Judge tried to do a little too much and the Fulham 10 robbed him, before racing away down the right channel. Pullen was alert to this, and shut the chance down, again forcing a striker into snatching at an effort which he easily blocked.

Willock scores... causing some blurring...

Willock scores... causing some blurring...

Yet more build up work from that man Willock created a chance for Gregory, who struck a low shot from twenty yards that took a deflection before nestling in the left corner. I haven’t really said much about Gregory, however that’s probably more for what he hasn’t done than what he has. Holding the midfield together has been a problem position for us, even last season where Adjei seemed likely to win the spot by default, despite gifting the ball to the opposition far too often. Steven Gregory made that mistake against Wycombe, but has quietly got on with his job since then, winning the ball, moving it on without fuss, and generally allowing more attacking minded colleagues to get on with it.

An incident just before half time, led to a Fulham chance, a cross came over which was volleyed into the ground by their 14, before the number 10 stabbed a foot at it sending the ball just over. What was important was how the chance came about. A ball into the right corner was a 50/50 between Hussey and his man, in fact Chris even looked a slight favourite if he had just attacked the ball and sent it safely into the stands. He seemed reluctant to do so, instead trying to get himself into a position to block the cross (which at best would have given them a corner). Hussy’s decision making in defensive situations draw attention away from his obvious talent going forward.

It was certainly something I dwelt upon at half-time, as I decided where to stand in the second half. I realised it would be my last chance to stand on the Tempest for a good while, so took up position there. I only lasted five minutes, there wasn’t the same atmosphere you get on a matchday anyway, and I needed my elevated position at the newly raised rear of the John Smith terrace to view the game. Its strange how I always seem to be drawn to that position, ironically a similar view to the one I had when I first watched a Wimbledon team at Plough Lane.

Similar to the first, Willock had the first decent chance of the second half, getting under another great Hatton cross and heading over. This was the only chance in a scrappy opening spell before the substitution. Among those heading off was Willock, given a few cheers of encouragement by some supporters. I had so much hope when planning this article. Would Willock prove to be a decent shout for a start against Luton? How did he compare with Kedwell? Sadly, this was to be the last we will see of him in a Dons shirt… for now at least. I really think Terry knew he had no chance of getting Callum for the money he was offering.

Put yourself in Willocks shoes. He is a career footballer. So he would have been used to earning a certain amount of money. If you had a job on, say, £800 per week, and your bills were £600 p/w, would you be satisfied to take a job for £500 p/w which offered no guarantee of long term security? Or would you take your chances and hold out for a deal that will pay your bills? I have complete sympathy with Willock, in fact judging by Terry’s insistence on him training on Monday and playing last night, perhaps he is entitled to feel we have fucked him around a little bit?

The lads prepare for kick off (in other words a filler as none of the other photos came out on my crappy camera...)

The lads prepare for kick off (in other words a filler as none of the other photos came out on my crappy camera...)

At the same time Jamie Pullen made way for another triallist in a make or break situation. You will have read that I have already lost patience with Sebb Brown. I considered him a goalkeeper capable of making mistakes, albeit one who hadn’t actually made one yet. This being Browns fourth pre-season appearance, I began to doubt myself in the run-up to the game, so decided to pay special attention to him for the last half hour, or SebbWatch as I decided to call it. I’ll come to that at the end of the report…

Main and Kedwell took some time to get into their stride, despite the creative influence of both Godfrey and Moore behind them. If anything they were a bit too keen, Main especially finding himself caught offside all too often. It was only twenty minutes before the end that the Dons really looked like adding to their lead. Two identical chances came in quick succession. Crosses from the right were headed away but only to Dons players lurking on the edge of the box. Firstly Main caught his volley sweetly but sent the ball wide of the left post. Next Gregory hit one firm and low but pretty close to Zuberbuhler, still the fierceness caused the Swiss keeper to require two attempts at collecting .

Into the last ten minutes, and Kedwell drew plaudits including from hi manager after a single touch from a tricky dropping ball saw him turn away from nearby Fulham men, before sending his drive just wide of the near post. This was to be Wimbledon’s last clear cut chance, however they kept the pressure up to the last minute, closing out a well earned victory.

Back down the other end for a review of the last half hour from Sebb Browns perspective, and to be honest, he didn’t have much to do. I was planning on picking out a few dodgy kicks, but they were more than made up for by some excellent distribution, especially from ground kicks. And when he was called on, from a dangerous deep cross, he cleared out an onrushing forward and defender to punch well and far from danger, before the referee blew for a Dons free-kick.

In fact it seemed like he could have earned himself a contract almost by default, when with the last action of the game that error he had been threatening to make came along at the worst possible moment. A poor Fulham effort was bobbling wide, though Brown attempted to collect anyway. Unfortunately he never quite got hold of it, managing to scoop it into the path of a Fulham striker to tuck into the empty net.

Now I’ll never hide the fact I thought it would have been a bad decision to give him a contract, but my heart went out to him at that moment. To produce such an error, wiping out all the good effort he must have put in during training sessions, and to see his dream taken from him ten seconds from the end of his trial period… well you wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

If he had earned that contract he would have had time, away from the spotlight, to work on his game. He could have stepped up when required and rammed the criticism from the likes of me back down our throats. Still, it will be correct to send him on his way now, give him a good reference and hopes he finds a route back via a Ryman League club perhaps…

As the last pre-season game at Kingsmeadow passed into the night, another great performance will raise spirits prior to the Luton game. However right now Terry must be pondering how he found himself back at the beginning as far as the search for a target man and back up keeper are concerned. One positive is at least this time he appears content to wait for the right men, even if this may mean we start the season without them.

Tagged , , , ,