Tag Archives: FA Youth Cup

The General Specific (Tuesday 17th November ’09)

I haven’t written for a while, thanks to the ‘real world’ gate crashing my blogging party last week. Not that I didn’t try, but I will spare the world my car crash effort of a Millwall report. How something so positive could turn into something absolutely depressing is beyond me, and I wrote it…

A few belated thoughts on Millwall. If we put in that sort of performance against Conference opposition week in, week out, we will undoubtedly be up among the playoff contenders at the end of the season. Yet the memories that will last longest in my head will undoubtedly be the fantastic atmosphere in the stands that night (sorry Lewis…). We can only dream of the days we get the chance to repeat that on a regular basis, until then there is a chance we could suffer from post-FA Cup syndrome, not just on the pitch but in the stands as well. Can we not all try our best to recreate that atmosphere at Kingsmeadow?

I know that its tougher as we are more spread around, but the lower roofs can aid us. It shouldn’t just be the handfull in the Tempest who keep the atmosphere going, it should be coming from all sides of the ground. I resolve to sing a bit more from my usual position behind the dugout, rather than just loudly abuse the officials/opposition when things aren’t going our way.

I wasn’t at Barrow on Saturday, it coincided with my birthday, and my wife lined up a day of birthday celebrations. Which ultimately ended in a row at the Indian restaurant we went to eat at. It was a nice meal and all, but the customer service was shocking. If you ever find yourself in Surbiton and fancy a curry, don’t visit Joy in Brighton Road! There are another three you can visit within 100 yards anyway, which means my search for a new curry house will not be a long one…

I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t earn my supporter stripes by joining the longest and most awkward trip of the season… and I still haven’t seen the Dons play north of Bradford. Bring on York and Gateshead thats all I can say! A few comments on the game if I may. I keep hearing reference to a Lewis Taylor dummy in not-so complementary terms, but I can’t look back far enough on the guestbook to find out what happened (well done to the Gimps for keeping the guestbook open, by the way). I’ll leave commentary on that to the 337 travelling Dons…

It seems as though Sebb Browns appearance earned glowing reviews, which is good news considering Jamie Pullen is now out for a month with a cracked ankle bone. I intitially though Jack Turner should be given his League debut, but for Sebb to come along and turn in a decent performance, it really takes the pressure off the manager perhaps being tempted into that. Plus if Jack comes in and has a terrible spell it could damage his confidence and actually hinder his development. Remember, Sebb is expendable in that sense, Jack certainly shouldn’t be.

On the subject of our young goalkeeping prodigy, his performance in the last round of the Youth Cup inspired my early optimism that he may be promoted to the first team. I think I mentioned in my report, he really looked like a man among boys, and is like a twelfth man for the side. He is in action, along with his promising colleagues, in the Second Round tomorrow at Kingsmeadow. I can’t stress enough how important it would be to the lads if a decent crowd turned out for this one. It would be tough to pick out one to look out for, but keep an eye open in particular for the two tricky, pacy forwards Matt Harmsworth and James Cottee, as well as captain Harry Knock.

This is the first time the Under 18’s have played a League sides youth setup in competitive football, mainly due to this being the first time the young Dons have qualified for the tournament proper. Bournemouth may be a league club, but with a decent home crowd firmly behind them, who knows? Perhaps they can teach the First team a thing or two about beating Football League sides, and in the process become the first Dons side in the AFC era to play on a Premier League ground, as a trip to the Reebok awaits the winner of this tie.

As for the first team, well a visit from York is going to be tough, especially with our home record in recent weeks. With a packed fixture list between now and Christmas (especially if we require a replay in our FA Trophy first round game), its time to get some form together. The New year could bring a gentle run towards midtable, or a decent Trophy run coupled with a playoff push, and I have a feeling the next few weeks will determine which we will see…

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AFC Wimbledon U18 2 Sutton United U18 1 (After Extra Time) – A Match Report

The youth team laid down the gauntlet to the senior side by reaching the Second Round of the FA Youth Cup, extending their record of reaching the competition proper for the first time this season. It took a lot of guts to make it through against a strong Sutton team who pushed them all the way, and will certainly be feeling sorry for themselves this morning having had a number of chances to win the game at the end of normal time.

As it was the young Dons did enough in extra time to win the game, a victory they just about deserved. The Dons looked like they would romp to victory following a dominant first half performance. As early as five minutes into the game a free kick out wide on the left was delivered in by skipper Harry Knock towards the far post. Sutton keeper Bettinson looked favourite but flapped at the ball, getting nothing on it to change its trajectory, and Dons forward Matt Harmsworth was perhaps taken by surprise that the ball reached him as he charged in behind the keeper, seeing his header smash against the Sutton bar from only yards out.

On twenty minutes, this time from a free kick wide on the left, and much deeper than the handball offence that it was originally given for occurred, was floated in to find Jordaan Browne with a free header ten yards from goal that he could unfortunately only guide over the bar.

Wimbledon were almost made to pay for a rare lapse in defensive concentration, as a Sutton player made an unopposed run down the left channel. Jack Turner was tempted to his near post only to see him square for the Sutton number nine James Page who had an open net to aim for. He went safety first and perhaps hit it a little too close to the centre of goal, but it would have beaten most young keepers. Turner however was like a man against boys, almost like an extra man advantage, and covered the ground to pull off an amazing save.

Every time I see Jack Turner he gets better and better. Plus its amazing that he still qualifies for this tournament, we forget that despite his contracted status he is still so young. If the club manages to hold onto his services we can expect big things from this boy, and should he decide to go on to bigger and better things (bear in mind he turned down a chance to join Readings youth academy during the summer) the fact he is under contract should see the club rewarded with a Hussey-like fee.

Wimbledon snatched the lead they had threatened on 38 minutes. A corner from the right curled in by Jordan Bird wasn’t cleared, a bit of pinball in the six yard box saw the ball find its way to Matt Harmsworth who guided the ball home. Some of the interplay between Harmsworth and his strike partner James Cottee had really impressed me over the course of the half, and Matt himself is another who has come on over the last six months even since seeing him play in the Suburban Cup Final. He had a run out for the first team in pre-season against Wycombe and should take heart from the impact his strike partner that night at Imber Court, Peter Rapson, has had on the first team (injuries notwithstanding).

Sutton came out the stronger sie in the second half, an early attack down the left seeing the ball bounce away from Turners near post. On the hour mark from a ree kick on the left a Sutton player headed over the bar when completely free, before seconds later Turner was forced to make a brave save with feet. From the corner Turner again made a stunning block, albeit the linesman’s flag had already be raised for a Dons free kick.

Sutton were coming into the game more and more, maybe due to their physical presence – they pretty much towered over the Dons boys from 1-11. Yet you still sensed the Dons would have enough to see the game through, and were desperately unlucky not to make the game safe with a quarter of an hour left. A corner was met by Callum Dunne, whose firm downward header bounced up off the bar.

Of course, as is the nature of  cup ties, the home side were made to rue this missed effort with ten minutes remaining. What looked a fair challenge was punished with a Sutton free kick on the edge of the area, from which Sutton fullback Robbie Drewett’s effort just beat Jack Turner and sneaked in under the bar. Extra time loomed, but it was the visitors who almost stole the tie with five minutes to go, a number of Dons fans somehow keeping the ball from crossing the line, their bench already celebrating as all eyes turned to the linesman on the far side, crouched ready to make a call that never came.

With Cottee replaced by Joe Jackson, Wimbledon were more direct towards the end which can only be put down to tiredness. The fresh Jackson was chasing down every ball, giving Sutton something to think about themselves. Yet it was Dunne who snatched what turned out to be the winner five minutes into extra time, a deep cross from the right saw him sneak in at the far post, his header squirming under Bettinson and into the net.

Later in the period, Jackson played in Harmsworth after a strong run down the left, his shot saved by Bettinson with his leg. Moments later a wonderful piece of close control saw Harmsworth dance round two Sutton players before getting his shot all wrong and slicing over the bar. Sutton appeared to be beaten and failed to test Wimbledon during the remainder of the game, with the Dons looking the more likely to extend their lead before the final whistle brought huge celebrations from the team.

A much tougher task awaits them in the Second Round, with Bournemouth travelling to Kingsmeadow after seeing off Bristol Rovers in their First Round tie. The youngsters are now only one win away from a potential tie on a Premier League or Championship ground, although Bournemouth are a huge test it’s not outside the realm of possibility that they can edge past them. With just over two hundred in attendance we can only hope that a really decent crowd with turn out for their next game in the competition – lets give our young players what they really deserve and show them the support we give to the first team.

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The General Specific (Thursday 5th November ’09)

So Terry Browns idea of reinforcements after a 3-1 defeat at the bottom club in which we saw a disjointed midfield and makeshift back line is to sign a striker? Ah, but this is by no means an ordinary striker… this is Luis Cumbers. The man who changed the course of Womble history by nodding into an open net and level the Ryman Playoff final at Staines, less than two years ago… In fact, I say man, but Luis is still just a boy, albeit a much stronger and physical looking boy than he was when here previously.

Perhaps he will write himself into the history books again at the New Den on Monday night? Indeed, Gillingham have allowed him to feature in the FA Cup this season, meaning the possibility has opened up that the Gills may allow his loan to extend beyond the one month initial period, maybe to the end of the season? Could there really be a possibility he may turn the loan move into a permanent deal? Well, lets not get carried away, Luis has to prove himself again to the Dons fans despite his goal against us in the draw at Ebbsfleet. Plus I’m sure if he impresses it may encorage the Gills to have another close look at him.

It’s likely that if Keds and Main are fit he will start on the bench, but is more likely to get the nod to come on than Monague, who will have to find some form after a promising start at the club and now finds himself slipping down the pecking order. Remember we still have an unfortunately injury hit kid in the reserves that wants to prove himself, and may get that chance at Monty’s expense…

I haven’t talked about Millwall yet, partly through cautiousness really. The news that we have already passed the 2500 mark has stung me into action now we find that there is a cap on ticket sales at 3400. Which seems frustrating with Millwall ensuring the two stands next to it are devoid of Millwall fans in their lower tiers… surely there isnt a safety implication in housing Dons fans there? I would imagine we should be mighty annoyed if the remaining tickets go by the weekend then arrive to see hundreds of empty seats in the visiting section…

There is more to this cup game than I care to write at the moment, in truth I’m saving a lot back for the main preview on Saturday (a bumper Anonymous Don special!) but wanted to have a moan about ticket sales in the mean time. In reality we should be lucky we have got over 3000 tickets, that certainly wouldn’t have been the case if we had visited Barnet or Dagenham, perhaps even somewhere like Brentford too?

Plus there is an important cup tie taking place at Kingsmeadow tonight, as the U18’s play their first ever game in the FA Youth Cup proper, having seen off Kentish Town, Hayes, Thamesmead and Tilford on their passage through the qualifying competition. A fixture at home to Sutton United, fellow Ryman Youth Leaguers, gives them a fantastic chance of progressing to a home Second Round game against Bournemouth. Without wanting to put pressure on the youngsters, it seems they have a better chance of moving to the third round and taking on Premiership Acadamy sides than our First team has! Win, lose or draw this evening, the lads have got further than any Dons side has in the competition so far, and I for one will certainly be hanging around after I collect my tickets for Monday in hope that they can go one step further…

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The General Specific (Wednesday 21st October ’09)

First off, a great big MASSIVE congratulations to Chris Hussey, who last night made his debut for Coventry City in their 2-0 defeat at Cardiff. Hussey came on as a substitute midway through the second half and has apparently been given the number 14 shirt, which suggests Coleman sees him as a relatively important squad member.

The bad news is that this proves my theory that the Universe that we live in is nothing other than the physical manifestation of a dream the twelve year old Hussey is currently having. His alarm is going to go off shortly, and we shall all explode into nothingness, as young Hussey sits up and rubs his eyes, his only memory being a seven-foot tall furry creature with an oversized ball on a football field, and several hundred Cardiff fans ‘doing the Hussey’ (http://www.cardiffcity-mad.co.uk/news/loadrprt.asp?cid=MTCH&id=468916).

Hopefully our existence will last long enough for us to find out our FA Cup fate on Saturday. Now the Admission War with Crawley has been won (or did we lose?) and the FA has set the price (£14 terrace, £17 seat), we can focus on the football. I hope those whose self-righteous reluctance to travel over an amount of money so trivial it wouldn’t even buy you half a pint in most town centre pubs are going to make the journey, the underlying rumble of dissatisfaction actually helps the atmosphere thanks to encouraging long-retired singers like myself to make a comeback if only to drown them out.

Our visitors are obviously looking to coin it in, and if you feel your being ripped off by them, reclaim the money by keeping it in your pocket when you pass the guy selling programmes or the burger van. More on the game itself in an FA Cup preview special I am planning on writing (but don’t hold your breath after recent form…).

The reserves played Metropolitan Police last night, Terry allowing Brown, Adjei, Judge, Wellard and Montague some game time. All got a full ninety minutes under their belts except Adjei, who was subbed just after the hour. Wellard even managed to score to give the Ressies an eleventh minute lead, but was overshadowed by our second string goal machine Elton Gjoni. Gjoni himself found that, for once, he didn’t have the funniest name on the pitch; the Met goalscorer Dave Banjo hoping to strum up some interest in his form with their consolation – perhaps hoping to be plucked by their first team soon?

The U18s are involved in FA Youth Cup action away to Tilbury as I write… the winners face a home tie against Sutton or Margate (who play tomorrow) – expect an update later tonight featuring the result of that one. The ladies crashed out of their FA competition with a 0-5 thumping at Aldershot. Lets hope then that the first team can continue their adventure… actually I think I’m coming down with something. I’m feeling anxious, nervy, sweating slightly and have the shakes… could this be… Cup fever I’m coming down with???

NB – The Anonymous Don would like to apologise for the lame ‘cup fever’ joke. I had no idea how to end the piece, and in my defense all I can say is I was tired and emotional when I wrote it (just two minutes ago…). Rest assured, I will work tirelessly to avoid such errors of judgement in future, which has soiled my good reputation, and I hope my actions have not damaged the reputation of the wider fanbase.

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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…

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