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League Two Lowdown: AFC Wimbledon

28 June 2013

Our look at Pompey's League Two opponents continues with the Dons

Meetings with Pompey
According to official records, Pompey have never played AFC Wimbledon in a competitive fixture.

But those that see the Dons as the real continuation of the old Wimbledon FC will recall plenty of classic encounters.

They will recall Alan Knight crouched down to rub his knee while Noel Blake’s back-pass rolled past him in a 3-2 defeat at Plough Lane in 1984.

Then there was the only ever FA Cup game to be played at Fratton Park on Christmas Eve, a thrilling 3-3 draw that was part of a trilogy of matches stretching from 1979 to 1980 before Pompey eventually triumphed in a second round second replay.

The sides first locked horns on Boxing Day 1978, when goals from Lee Barnard, Steve Davey, Billy Wilson and Jeff Hemmerman saw the Blues end table-topping Wimbledon’s 18-match unbeaten run at Plough Lane.

They have met 27 times since and another memorable clash took place at Selhurst Park in 2001. Pompey trailed 3-0 after 60 minutes, but salvaged a point thanks to goals from Mark Burchill, Peter Crouch and – with a last-gasp penalty – Lee Bradbury. A certain David Connolly was on target for the hosts that night.

The sides last faced off in 2003 and temporarily derailed the Blues’ promotion charge. Patrick Agyemang was one of the scorers in a 2-1 victory, watched by 9,000 Pompey fans among the crowd of 10,356.

Wimbledon history
The club was formed as Wimbledon Old Central Football Club a year after Pompey in 1899, but it was not until the mid-1970s that they came to prominence.

Shortening their name to Wimbledon in 1905, they spent more than 75 years as an amateur and semi-professional non-league club.

The Dons won four Isthmian League titles in the 1930s and lost to Bishop Auckland in the 1935 FA Amateur Cup final. More titles followed after the war, including a league and cup double in 1963.

They turned professional in 1964 and won three successive Southern League titles between 1975 and 1977. In 1975 they won 1-0 at Burnley to become the first non-league team to beat first division opponents in the 20th century.

Wimbledon then held reigning Football League champions Leeds to a goalless draw at Elland Road before narrowly losing the replay in front of 40,000 fans at Selhurst Park.

All that success finally resulted in the club being elected into the Football League in 1977 and they made a yo-yo start with two promotions to Division Three and two relegations back to Division Four.

But when they won the fourth division title in 1983, it was followed by another promotion into the second division and then another into the top flight in 1986.

Wimbledon were now playing first division football just four years after being in the basement and only nine after first becoming a Football League club.

They shocked the nation again in 1988 when the ‘Crazy Gang’ beat red-hot favourites Liverpool 1-0 at Wembley to lift the FA Cup.

The Dons continued to confound the critics when the Premier League was formed in 1992, but the 21st century did not bring much joy and the club were relegated to the second tier in 2000.

AFC Wimbledon present
There was plenty of controversy in 2001 when the club announced its intention to relocate to Milton Keynes.

They entered administration in 2003 and made the move to Buckinghamshire for the start of the 2003/04 campaign before rebranding as Milton Keynes Dons.

But disenfranchised supporters had already set up AFC Wimbledon and the club rose quickly through the non-league pyramid before winning promotion to League Two in 2011.

Information for Pompey fans
Pompey fans will make their second visit to Kingsmeadow (known as The Cherry Red Records Stadium for sponsorship purposes) after playing AFC Wimbledon in a pre-season friendly last August.

The trip to the 4,850-capacity stadium is the Blues’ shortest of the season, but there is room for only 700 visiting fans on the East Terrace.

Two bars are located on one side of the ground and fans of both clubs happily mingled there last summer. However, if these are reserved for home fans only then the Duke of Wellington and Prince of Wales are both near the ground on Kingston Road.

Travelling by road
Postcode: KT1 3PB
Distance from Fratton Park: 65.3 miles
Estimated drive time: 1hour, 32 minutes

Follow the A3 northbound into London. At the exit for New Malden/Worcester Park, turn off and take the left into Malden Road (A2043) towards Kingston. Follow this to the next roundabout and take the first exit into Kingston Road (still A2043). Kingsmeadow is one mile on the left.

Travelling by train
Norbiton station is a 15-minute walk to the ground and trains from Portsmouth Harbour involve changes at Woking and Wimbledon. The whole journey takes approximately two hours. An off-peak return costs £31.20, although fares depend on time of booking, special offers, etc.

New Malden is 25-minute walk from the ground and the route passes a number of pubs and shops. Trains from Portsmouth Harbour involve changes at Woking and Surbiton. The journey takes approximately one hour and 47 minutes and the cheapest fare is £27.60.

League Two fixtures
AFC Wimbledon v Pompey: Saturday, November 16 (3pm kick-off)
Pompey v AFC Wimbledon: Saturday, February 15 (3pm kick-off)

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