Tag Archives: Sutton United

News Round Up 17/7/11 – Sutton, Guernsey

No match report for the Sutton game, as it falls into the category of Games I Attempted To Get To But Bailed En-Route, joining that time we got a puncture on the way to Coventry, that time signal faults just outside Waterloo prevented me reaching Luton, that time I got soaked by a freak shower between my house and Kingston station causing me to miss Wallingford (it really was a downpour…), and a Ryman game lost to the mists of an alcohol heavy period of my life when I decided I was just having too much of a good time in the Kingston Tup so stayed all afternoon.

This time round it was a minor plumbing emergency (so minor in fact, I managed to fix it myself, which really is saying something…), but it sounds as though I didn’t miss much… Still, in this years contracted pre-season every minute on the field counts. I know this is a constant moan of mine but the crowd yesterday of 772 was pretty poor for a game in our backyard, and can £10 for a PSF really be justified for what is in effect a training exercise?

This isn’t a moan targeted at Sutton (or even Staines…), we charge the same… the thing is people are always looking for local games at this time of year, if we set entry for Watford at £6/£7 for terraces we would attract many more through the turnstiles and benefit commercially from a larger crowd? Of course, on arranging these games any profit share agreement would mean we would have had some kind of input on yesterday’s admission, as Watford will next Saturday, so it’s probably not that simple…

As one door closes another opens, and I have found now that I can make it to Bedfont on Thursday after all, so I won’t be missing anything after all (hopefully I’ll see a few more goals, although Bedfont might have something to say about that…). Talking about goals, the development squad were involved in a goalsome encounter in Guernsey… winning out 6-5 in the Channel Islanders first fixture. It sounds as though there was a decent attendance in four figures, which shows the potential of the club, although you would expect once the initial novelty wears off attendances will settle down, more people will turn up given a couple of promotions and better standard of football.

While at least one Dons squad have travelled overseas for a game, I find myself looking enviously across the pond as Oxford are currently on tour in New England, including a couple of games in New Hampshire itself. Naturally with my in-laws in the area seeing the Dons embark on such a trip would be pretty much a dream for me. I’m not sure where the finances for that sort of trip would come from though… even if a sponsor of benefactor came in, you have to wonder whether costs would be better off spent elsewhere. I’ll put that idea on hold until I have made my personal fortune…

Finally, the captaincy poll… I kind of bodged that big time by not including either Brett Johnson or Gareth Gwillim, two contenders mentioned by TB at MTM. For what its worth Jamie Stuart ran away with it with 48% of the voting, with those looking for BJ or GG presumably voting for ‘Someone Else’ (28%), yet with numbers down on previous polls there is always the possibility those not seeing their preferred choice simply didn’t vote. Not that it really matters, as there is only one man whose vote really counts, and that is TB, I’m sure we’ll find out in the build up to Crawley and Bristol Rovers who he has decided to go for.

The poll is now closed by the way, but there’ll be another one in the build up to the Bristol Rovers game. Next week the Dons travel to Beckenham on Tuesday and Bedfont on Thursday, presumably we will see a mixture of first team and development at both, before the Watford game on Saturday signals the start of the run in to competitive football…

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Back To Where It All Began

If someone had suggested to me back on that glorious night, 10th July 2002 at Gander Green Lane, as our new Dons played out a 0-4 defeat to Sutton United that we would go on and gain promotion to the Football League within nine years… well if asked two days before or a couple of weeks later I might have suggested this sort of timescale as overambitious, but on that glorious night anything seemed possible for AFC Wimbledon. In fact I might have been a bit disappointed we couldn’t do it in seven. Or even five…

Maybe your memories have faded nine years on, but AFC Wimbledon kicking a ball in anger for the first time was perhaps the most euphoric occasion I’ve ever experienced as a football supporter. Eastlands might just have trumped it, but for entirely different reasons… simply watching our new side take the field seemed pretty miraculous at the time, like having taken this one leap of faith everything else would fall into place without too much effort.

We quickly found out how hard it would be, the sheer effort required to propel us up the pyramid, but that night will live long in the memory of all of us there that night (and hundreds more around the world who weren’t…), and it seems apt we revisit Sutton in preparation for our first season back in the League. I can’t imagine what they must have been expecting on the night, by all accounts they needed a little convincing until agreeing to host the fixture, and thankful they did… the occasion wouldn’t have been quite the same had it been hosted by Leatherhead or Windsor, no disrespect intended.

I think back then the presumption was we would face Sutton some point down the line in a competitive League fixture, but like Kingstonian and Woking we somehow avoided each other as our promotions coincided with relegation for the U’s. Of course, we did defeat them in a memorable Surrey Senior Cup semi-final, a competition that for one season only was elevated well beyond its natural level of interest by success hungry Dons fans. Sutton have become something of a Home For Unwanted Dons of late, with the likes of Goodliffe, Davis, Adjei and Jay Conroy finding themselves in a Sutton shirt.

From a Dons perspective, each game this pre-season has felt a lot more valuable as there aren’t as many of them as usual… I know I can’t attend the two midweek games this week, but those two fixtures alone account for almost a third of our schedule. In case you had forgotten, the season kicks off just two weeks today – last night saw the annual Meet The Manager night, which I missed, but fortunately you can read an extensive write-up elsewhere

One of the reasons this preview was published tonight and not last night (as was my aim) is because I was waiting for some news to come out of the camp, as yet none is forthcoming with the exception of what was reported earlier in the local Guardian, that Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz looks like he might have done enough to earn a deal, providing Jack Turner can find a club (the Herald hinted yesterday that Hayes were showing interest, and if he could pull that off a season in the BSN would do him the world of good, particularly as the likelihood is he’ll be worked a little harder than he has been on his two Dons Conference appearances…

At the other end of the field, any lingering hopes Dons fans might have had that Alan Connell could be tempted to the club were extinguished when Swindon signed him for a reported six figure fee. When you consider that this means, making a few presumptions on a couple of the fees, the best part of a quarter of a million pounds has been splashed on three non-league strikers by teams in our division (Kedwell, Birchall, Connell), it really shows what we are up against financially.

Moving full circle, another side entering the Combined Counties League with ambitions to move up the pyramid take on Marcus Gayle’s development squad tomorrow at their Footes Lane stadium, and there seems to be some real excitement building over the islands debut in the pyramid. Good luck to them, and as Channel Online TV seem to be all over the story, there is a fair chance we might see some goal action of this game come Sunday morning…

LATE UPDATE

The O/S update came in half an hour after mine, obviously been watching Tour de France coverage, like any good sprinter locking on to a wheel before springing out last-minute and grabbing the glory…

Anyway, Szymon Sidorowicz and Baz Savage have moved on after failing to earn contracts, the most interesting news being TB has earmarked a couple of strikers ‘for the future’. So it looks as though we will start the season with what we have, and in terms of bringing in a Kedwell replacement its a case of playing the waiting game…

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News Round Up – 20/6/11

At last, the club feel they are in a position to reveal more information on pre-season games! I suppose we can’t blame the club, they have a policy of announcing fixtures only when contracts are received, mainly to avoid ‘games that never were’, such as the Leyton Orient game announced on their website… and subsequently cancelled. Having said that, couldn’t someone at the club have posted a short notice, along the lines of ‘we know you have all waited to hear news on pre-season games, but we can’t announce them yet and this is why…’?

With the first game (which was planned to be a home fixture) being delayed, the club were able to advise we would travel to a local rival on Tuesday 12th. Although unnamed at the time Sutton United have since announced the fixture on their website (whilst there I also noticed they are playing a two-legged pre-season fixture with Carshalton and it got me wondering whether we should arrange our own with Kingstonian… no?).

A League side has been lined up to replace Leyton Orient on the 16th, with Beckenham on the Tuesday after and a trip to Kevin Cooper II’s Bedfont Town. Saturday 23rd sees the visit of Watford, as previously planned, with Tooting to follow on 26th, before the Crawley game kicks things off. All in, with a couple of League sides (sorry… fellow League sides…) and a smattering of local non-league rivals, a decent enough preparation for our first season in the League. Under the circumstances we probably just about got away with it…

We are, I suppose, fortunate that the body of last seasons squad is still in place, so we don’t need vast amounts of game time to gel. I was going to describe TB’s summer squad sculpting as ‘cosmetic’, but that probably doesn’t apply in a situation where our best XI has effectively had its head chopped off with Kedwells bombshell. You can add one of the shoulders to that, now Kaid Mohamed has decided to take an offer closer to home and joined Cheltenham.

I have to say the loss of Mohamed hasn’t really hit me in the same way as Kedwell’s announcement did. I think he is talented, don’t get me wrong, but I think last season’s Wimbledon side really played to his strengths. It would have been nice to see whether he can kick on and finally make the breakthrough in League football, but it’s not to be. I get the impression finding a replacement for him might not be as difficult as rooting out the man to step into our former skippers boots…

As for Kedwell, well we might have held out hope that circumstance might lead to him staying but WHAK seems to have put paid to that thought. With news that there are ‘several’ clubs interested, there is a chance this might be resolved quicker than I feared, and for decent reward. The more money the club can squeeze out of Kedwell, the more funds available for his replacement… and lets not forget, Kedwell’s current contract wouldn’t exactly have been peanuts.

You may have seen in last weeks news update I linked to the blog Jack Midson is currently writing for The 72. Now he has signed for the Dons, Midson gives his side of the story in his latest blog. Interesting that Wrexham were able to offer a much better deal than we were, I can only imagine the money Andy Mangan must have been on, indeed how much Fleetwood must have offered to lure him there. No wonder Kedwell is so keen to get away. Nonetheless, I’m feeling pretty grateful that Midson came to us under the circumstances…

Finally, the ongoing blog makeover continues, with the features now in their own index for easy reference. Like the links section, this is an ongoing project… I’ve been looking around some of the other bloggers in League Two, and the bar has definitely been raised….

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News, News, News…

Twenty-two years ago this very day (I wrote this bit on Friday…), a ten-year old Anonymous Don was curled up in his bed, having seen his side win the FA Cup! This was in the days when the FA Cup was THE tournament to win as far as I was concerned, and I remember lying in bed tired yet very much still high on a Pepsi overdose listening while the rest of the family made their way to bed as well. In the pre-student days Kingston was quiet at night, and I remember lying in bed watching the moonlight illuminating my room through the open curtains thinking ‘This is it. This is what life is all about’…

Twenty-two years later and here I am, a couple of feet taller, three times heavier and with slightly more hair on my chin, older but not necessarily more mature – and I’m like scrooge on Christmas Eve. Yes, normally I would go for the underdog on Cup Final day but to be honest I’ve long since stopped caring about the struggles of plucky overspending Portsmouth, and can’t bear to watch Chelsea rack up the first of what may be many more doubles (although thank god for Man City, eh?). So I’m going to the cinema with my wife. Well, it is her birthday.

So we have signed a new player! Former K’s man Christian Jolley has joined and its fair to say for a first new signing of the summer, this one appears to be underwhelming at first glance. Jolley was a cog in the wheel of K’s promotion charge and its fair to say this signing has come as a bit of a surprise. Yet Jolley has apparently been interesting a couple of League 2 clubs, and Terry had to get in quickly at the end of the season to snap him up. 

With the small squad we are running Jolley definitely hasn’t just been signed to make up the numbers, so presumably Terry Brown feels he has the makings of a player who can come straight in and play Conference Premier football. Reading what his former manager Alan Dowson thought of him here that sounds pretty reasonable and he does seem to have made a huge amount of progress at Kingstonian since they plucked him out of the junior game. Apparently Christian was signed for a small fee (I would stick my neck on the line and say around £5,000) plus an agreement to play Kingstonian in a PSF where bizarrely we get to keep most of the proceeds.

Kennedy Adjei has made the reverse journey to the Ryman, signing a years contract extension but finding he will spend it on loan at Sutton. It’s a great deal for Sutton, who my Sutton supporting boss advised me will use him as a replacement for Alan Pouton, and its undoubtedly a pretty good deal for Kennedy too. There hasn’t been too many details of the deal that have leaked yet but I would imagine Sutton are paying most or all of his salary, and presuming the contract is full-time he will be able to train with us a couple of days a week… which would make it a great deal for Wimbledon too…

With a long summer ahead of us, and the management team prepared to play the waiting game to find the right players, there may not be a flood of news until the players prepare to n for pre-season. The news that Terry was not prepared to go ahead with signing a centre half from a top Conference club as we couldn’t match said clubs offer is positive, regardless of who the centre half was (and I don’t want to get into speculation as to who it was). The fact was Mr Centre Half was quite happy to come to the Dons were finances not an issue, which speaks highly of how the club is viewed in the game. Whoever it was, even if it was only for an extra £50 a week, I certainly wouldn’t blame the guy for staying at his current club in the current financial climate, I just hope the club he plays for has enough cash in the coffers to keep paying him for the next year…

More positive news came in the form of pre-season games. Our second PSF will be a Tuesday night game at Maidenhead, not too far for the hardcore among us to travel, but exactly the sort of game we should be playing at that stage of preparations. Much like the TBA game against K’s, the small crowd will allow the management team to try a few things that perhaps they won’t be able to in a showpiece game against Milwall or Charlton, or even the unknown Premiership clubs XI on 7th August.

As that particular team hasn’t yet been announced (and may not for a number of weeks yet…) we can all have a bit of fun guessing who they will be. Most sides will presumably be back from any tours, yet most clubs like to be involved in a showpiece game against top European opposition on that day. Not that this would rule out any particular club that has already arranged a fixture that day, as ‘XI’ normally means ‘Second string and Youth’  anyway.  So we could be looking at literally anyone… although a local side will ensure an element of their support will make the trip. I was desperately trying to remember the side the management team visited this year in case something was arranged then, I’m fairly certain though it was Derby… which is no use to us in this case…

A third League One side has been added to the schedule, in this case we have a trip to St James Park to play Exeter City, and for me it will be the first opportunity to visit having missed the FA Cup game there a few seasons ago. Having said that it is a long way to go for a pre-season game, originally I was planning to take Mrs AD down there to show her my old haunts in Plymouth, but finances are a bit stretched as I prepare to move house again, so that had to be shelved. The only reason I’m still going is that I got a good deal on a return train ticket that day…

Yet unlike the Maidenhead game, which I may give a miss to and represents memories of away games past, Exeter is a side I can see us playing on a regular basis in future. Plus they are also a side we can look up to, having been down in the Conference when we played them in that FA Cup game, yet now brilliantly not only made it up to League One, they stayed their thanks to an 18th place finish. It will be interesting to see how far they (and us) have come, as well as allow ourselves some early season dreams of what might be to come, maybe not next season, but soon…

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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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