Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Sutton United Blog: AFC Wimbledon, Paul Fishenden, Alan Cork, Efan Ekoku and Sutton United v Tonbridge Angels

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I've just been perusing the BBC Football website, especially the Blue Square Premier league table of which top place is currently occupied by Wimbledon.

I'm really pleased for our near neighbours and have my fingers crossed that they might go all the way and retake their rightful place back in the Football League.

What a story their's is. To have climbed all the way out of non-league football to the top flight, to win the FA Cup along the way and then to have their club ripped from the fans' grasp is truly amazing. It says a lot about the Dons that they're fighting back in style.

Every now and again I will have a chat with pals down the pub about which team we'd support should our own go to the dreaded wall. It's a tricky subject, especially as so many club have gone by the wayside in recent years. But, should that terrible fate befall my beloved Sutton United then I would have no hesitation about following Wimbledon.

I remember being taken by my dad to Plough Lane for the first time in 1982. We saw some great games there, with the Dons embarking on their dramatic rise up the divisions. I seem to recall title tussles with Walsall and Oxford with the latter about to enjoy a golden spell in their history.

I really enjoyed watching Wimbledon back then with the likes of Alan Cork, Wally Downes, Steve Galliers, John Leslie (footballer), Glyn Hodges and Paul Fishenden wreaking havoc on the defences of Division Three and Four as they were back then.

Venue of legends: Plough Lane, the home of Wimbledon FC. A proper football ground. Mind you, I wouldn't want to watch the match through those fences.

There are Sutton United links, of course. We played them at Gander Green Lane to kick-start their new era in 2002. We also played Wimbledon at Wembley in the 1963 FA Amateur Cup Final. The Dons won 4-2 with Eddie Reynolds famously scoring all four of his side's goals that day with his head. But if you look to more recent times then you discover that the likes of Aiden Newhouse, Peter Fear, Ian Hazel, Jamie Mackie and, of course, Efan Ekoku, played for both side. Efan Ekoku, what a player he was...

The last time I saw the old Wimbledon club play was in the FA Cup against Selhurst Park against Manchester United when Eric Cantona trapped the ball on his thigh before volleying it over Hans Seegers and into the net. I went to see the new Dons play a couple of early home games in the Combined Counties League back in 2002 and really felt that they were getting back to the club it once was after the Norwegian debacle which blighted their Selhurst Park days.

Any rate, good luck to them. What happened to them was criminal. One can only assume a few bungs took place for that dreadful decision to be made back in 2002.

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So, on to last night's action. A 2-2 draw with Tonbridge Angels left me feeling a bit miffed, if I am honest. I should be happy enough I suppose as it's a point against a rapidly improving side. I followed the match on Twitter and the NonLeague24 Vidiprinter and was gutted when news of their late penalty popped up. Bugger. Richard Jolly and Karl Murray got on Sutton's scoresheet.

Since our excellent display at Kingstonian we certainly seem to have gone off the boil, with some of our performances not living up to the talent you'd expect from the names on the teamsheet.

Still, one of the big positives from the night was the crowd of 561. Gander Green Lane can be a bleak place at times, especially on a cold and wet night in late October, so we can't complain at support like that. We just need the guys to deliver the goods on the pitch to encourage those off it to keep turning up.

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