NEAL IS ARDLEY UPSET AT A REPLAY
AFC WIMBLEDON were left cursing the hands of a goalkeeper they ditched after getting stuck in traffic as they couldn’t get out of second gear at non-league Sutton United.
The Dons live to fight another day but they could have snatched a last-minute winner when defender Paul Robinson’s bundled effort in a final flurry was well kept out by Ross Worner.
His Wimbledon career was on the road to nowhere from the moment a Friday night London standstill prevented him from getting to the club’s 2013 first round tie with Coventry on time. It was a match his understudy Seb Brown unravelled in as they tumbled out.
Worner’s new National League side are still very much going strong as Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley accepted he would have taken a draw before the start of the game.
The manager was wary about playing on a 3G pitch and his lack of urgency to bring on a striker to chase victory was evidence enough he was happy to take the 0-0 and run.
“If you would have asked me before the game if I would have taken that I’ve got to say I probably would say yes,” said Ardley, whose side came up against Liverpool two years ago.
“We had concerns about the pitch. It is an advantage, and Sutton’s record on it over the past 18 months tells you everything about how difficult it is to come here and win.” Ardley accepted Sutton had the better chances but insisted his team should have had a late penalty when captain Barry Fuller was felled in the box by U’s sub Bradley HudsonOdoi.
“It was a penalty, 100 per cent,” he said, in contrast to Sutton manager Paul Doswell, who believes referee Keith Stroud got it right having been shown a replay just after.
“You can’t tackle from behind like that and it should have been a penalty, there’s little doubt about it,” Ardley continued. “But maybe the draw was right, we’ll take it and go back to Kingsmeadow knowing the job is far from done.”
The hosts had the better chances and both fell to French striker Max Biamou.
In the first half he somehow failed to find the target when clean through and in the opening stages of the second he made James Shea earn his keep with a great save low down.
It wasn’t an end-to-end cup tie, but what we didn’t get in creative chances was made up for in energy, aggression and tension.
Doswell said: “I thought we had the two best chances of the game and we restricted them to very little.
“I’ve said to the players that they couldn’t have done any more and there’s no way they should think otherwise – we were the ones who looked like a League One club out there but we know the second leg will be a different challenge.
“They will be the favourites.”
SUTTON UNITED (4-4-1-1): Worner 7; Downer 7 (Hudson-Odoi 77, 6) Beckwith 8, Collins 8, Amankwaah 8; Deacon 7, Bailey 7, Gomis 7, Eastmond 7; Biamou 7 (Monakana 90, N/A); Tubbs 6 (Fitchett 72, 6). Subs not used: John, May, Spence, Shaw
AFC WIMBLEDON (4-4-2): Shea 7; Fuller 7, Robinson 7, Charles 8, Kelly 6; Parrett 7 (Francomb 90, N/A) Bulman 7, Reeves 6, Barcham 7; Elliott 6, Taylor 6. Subs not used: McDonnell, Owens, Robertson, Poleon, Barnett, Egan
TUSSLE: Sutton United’s Bedsente Gomis and AFC Wimbledon's Jake Reeves STAR MAN KEVIN AMANKWAAH Sutton