Match 18
28 October 2006.
FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round.
AFC Wimbledon (h)


Exeter City 2 AFC Wimbledon 1.

Saturday 28 October 2006.
Referee Oliver Langford

Attendance 4562

FA Cup 4th Qualifying Round.

So a stand-busting 4562 aided not inconsiderably by a magnificent 12-1300 away fans see City comfortably ease through to the first round proper of the FA Cup with a 2-1 win over AFC Wimbledon on a warm afternoon at the Park.

Straight from the whistle it was City who got quickest into their stride. Enjoying the bulk of the early possession, Woodards embarked on a surging run down the right, but unfortunately the excitement got the better of him and his cross was horribly over hit to no-one in particular. But the attack merely signalled City's intent

and it was full deserved and not at all unexpected when City took the lead as early as the seventh minute. Phillips set off on a powerful run down the left flank and cut inside superbly, driving into the penalty area. His low cross flashed across the six yard box to Taylor storming in at the back post to gleefully smash home his first goal of the season from two yards out to give City a 1-0 lead.

City continued to dominate, without really producing anything clear cut it has to be said, but on the quarter hour once again it was Taylor heavily involved collecting a quick Jones free kick from deep. He fed the ball into Mackie who shielded the ball well inviting Buckle to advance and guide the ball home but unfortunately a defender was alert to the danger and blocked the shot at source.

For much of the remainder of the half City continued to enjoy virtually unbroken domination, with the majority of play taking place in the area between the half way line and the Wimbledon penalty area, but it wasn't until 42 minutes that this complete one sidedness was rewarded properly.

Challinor picked the ball up out wide deep in his own half. With defenders backing off he was allowed to skip forwards unmolested until eventually ending up about twenty five yards out just to the left of the penalty area. He looked up just enough to see the keeper

furiously backpedalling and launched the most delicious curling, swerving, dipping drive into the top corner that you've ever seen. It was worthy of the admission all on it's own, and couldn't have been more pin sharp had it been dressed in an Oswald Boateng suit, a Paul Smith shirt and a dapper pair of Via Dante Italian brogues. So with that the game was won and City had much the more relaxed half time cuppa then their opponents.

But it was soon time for the second half, and more of the same we hoped. It appeared as though it would be so when a mere two minutes had expired before Mackie charged down an attempted clearance near to the half way line and burst though purposefully. Bearing down on goal he skipped past two defenders on the edge of the box, but before getting a chance to pull the trigger the keeper was out very sharply to smother at Mackie's feet.

Two minutes later again Mackie was charging down the clearances, making sure no defender had time to properly settle, however having done all the hard work he pulled his shot meekly past the post. For the next fifteen minutes or so Wimbledon tried to fashion something, but every time came up against a brick wall defence. City were content to ride out this attempt at pressure and attack when the opportunities arose, rather than forcing the issue.

But manager Tisdale wasn't content to give Wimbledon an easy remainder of the game, and on twenty minutes introduced jet heeled Stansfield at the expense of the livewire Mackie. A minute later Woodards knocked in a deep diagonal ball to Edwards still up from a previous corner who rose highest to nod the ball down to the adjacent Stansfield. His first touch of the afternoon was to blast the ball towards the bottom corner, but the keeper got down smartly to save.

Then, midway through the half, the happened and Wimbledon got one back. With a ball launched down the left, it appeared as though both chasing strikers were yards offside. However with City appealing the flag stayed down and it was former Aldershot striker Roscoe D'Sane who kept his composure enough to advance on goal and crisply slide the ball past Rice into the far corner for a well taken goal and to reduce the deficit to 2-1.

For a millisecond panic set in at the thought of Wimbledon getting right back into it, but they'd had their single, solitary attempt on goal and thirty seconds later it was Challinor looking to add to the lead with a fizzing 30 yarder that screamed inches past the post.

On the half hour a quick Stansfield break set up Challinor but his first time pop from the left was unfortunately straight into the keeper's midriff. City did think they'd finally made it a formality a minute or two later when Buckle pierced a static defence with a ball through to Stansfield, but as he confidently side footed home past the keeper, the linesman was already raising his flag for offside and the 'goal' was discounted.

And that was about it for the last quarter of an hour. Wimbledon tried, but there was nothing doing, and in the end the remaining time was seen out without any undue alarms or stress. So a decent win and an alright game. The two division gulf between the teams was soon apparent, and once City went two up it was all over. It might not sound as comfortable as it might appear at 2-1, but Wimbledon were restricted one shot on target all game their goal-and from a seemingly offside position too. In goal Rice was a virtual spectator, mainly having to deal with the odd cross unchallenged here and there, and the odd loose pass. It was probably no surprise he failed to keep a clean sheet as for all the activity he took part in, he was probably well on his way to a good eight hours in slumberland by the time they scored. In defence it was good to have Todd back, although you do feel for Rico who's done well in his absence. However, having the number one choices at centre back is always the best option as it puts the team on a sure footing, and between the pair of them very little troubled either for the whole ninety minutes.

In midfield Gill had more time and space than he'd ever hoped for, and at will sprayed the ball about with ease. Whilst Gill was doing the glory stuff, Buckle complimented him superbly by getting stuck in and doing the ugly stuff, breaking up play and thwarting attempted attacks. On the flanks it was just rewards for Taylor's tireless work this season that he opened the scoring, and on the other flank Challinor notched his sixth with an absolute pearler.

Up front Phillips played the holding role well, inviting midfielders to get forward and support, and outmuscling defenders not used to that amount of pressure. It was a good combination with first Mackie and then Stansfield as zippy, nippy forwards intent on giving defences a hard time.



Allowed tags: <p>, <a>, <em>, <strong>, <ul>, <ol>, <li>