Click crest to navigate

Quick links   Home Diary Links Contents Fixtures E-mail Terrace Banter

Bradford survive

Pre-season tour
Gallen signs
Hornets sting Town
Owls shot down
Gray returns
Wijnhard crashes out
Worthington woe
Ayre departs
First home point
Bye Bye Brucie
New manager announced
Fans show anger
9 points to safety
First home win
Ndlovu at first sight
Town leap to safety
Macari wins award
More cup woe
Ndlovu joins Blades
Jamie jumps ship
Town hit rock bottom again
Morris' McApline move
Prodigal son returns
Biggest win
QPR doomed
Nearly there
The bitter end

Tuesday 1st May.

Selhurst Park is probably one of the trickier grounds to visit, being tucked just bottom side of London, and we visited my sister near Leatherhead before the game giving us around an hour to travel the 12 miles or so to the ground. This sounds easy until you hit the traffic of London and Croydon, but with around a quarter of an hour to spare we found a car park right next to the ground, which was a stroke of luck as Selhurst is a rotten place to leave your car. We asked a couple of members of the local constabulary if the parking was free but they didn’t seem entirely sure and we decided to take our chances because no other cars had any ‘Pay and Display’ stickers in their windscreens. Despite their poor attendances you couldn’t pay at the turnstile and we had to queue in the ticket office to part with our £18, which is quite ridiculous but luckily we still made it into the ground with a few minutes to spare.

There was an unexpected change to the line up, with Thomas Heary dropped to the bench in favour of Adie Moses whilst Chris Hay once again featured amongst the substitutes. The pitch looked awful and heavy rain in the South East had caused the moat to be full of water (presumably this is why it’s called a moat!) and the turf cut up very quickly. Town’s attacking ambitions were immediately evident with an early effort from Chris Holland following Delroy Facey’s lay-off forcing keeper Davis into a smart save, and moments later Ben Thornley tried his luck from distance but failed (again) to hit the target.

Wimbledon, whose season had finally come to an end a week ago, took time to settle, and their re-organised line up took until the quarter hour to give their meagre support something to applaud. A long ball from defender Holloway was chased into the Town penalty area, but thankfully the ball passed safely out of play before Gareth Ainsworth could meet it as Margetson advanced from his line. Wimbledon continued to try to establish themselves into the game but it was Town who continued to look the more potent attacking threat. Simon Baldry won a corner and the winger took the resulting kick himself, and Chris Lucketti was unlucky to see his header pass narrowly over the goal. On the half hour the same players combined for Town’s second corner of the game but Lucketti’s header lacked power and Kelvin Davis was able to collected with ease.

Shortly afterwards the Dons reminded us that they hadn’t turned up simply to make up the numbers with chances for Agyemang and Williams both passing narrowly wide of the Town goal. We continued to create the better openings however as we looked as though we really wanted to banish the relegation threat tonight, and again Kelvin Davis had to react well to save from his own defender. Facey then provided an opportunity for Andy Booth but the shot was high over the bar, and minutes later Booth latched onto a ball from Thornley but again the gleeful recipients of the shot were the not so massed ranks of the Wimbledon fans as the effort sailed over the bar. As if to serve as a wake-up call Wimbledon were almost presented with a chance as the interval approached when Margetson dallied with a clearance allowing Ainsworth to intercept the ball, but to our great relief the chance was launched well over the bar.

Throughout the first half there had been some banter with a Crystal Palace fan who had taken a position in the hospitality section behind the away supporters, although I use the term hospitality loosely as it was little more than the back of the supermarket with some railings in front. He was somewhat more subdued as the game reconvened after the break having had a visit from the local constabulary who were a humourless bunch at the best of times. The game resumed with Town creating the first opening as Ben Thornley dragged a chance wide, although in fairness it was from a tricky angle but then things took a turn for the worse.

Wimbledon had settled better after the restart and finally won their first corner of the match with 50 minutes on the clock, and from the resulting place-kick the ball was only half cleared as far as the lurking Gareth Ainsworth who unleashed a powerful shot past the helpless Margetson. The goal was against the overall run of play and seemed to have an unsettling effect on Town as Wimbledon began to look more like the side who still had an interest in the play-offs until a week ago. As Town tried to regain the initiative the hosts found it easier to launch their counter attacks as our defence began to look stretched at times.

Before the game Macari had promised that we would go for the three points and was true to his word when he sacrificed Ben Thornley for Kevin Gallen to add some bite to the forward line. Within a couple of minutes of the substitution the desired effect was achieved as we got ourselves back on level terms in the 72nd minute. Steve Jenkins hoisted a long ball over the top of the Wimbledon defence for Kevin Gallen who tussled with a defender for possession, and as Davis raced off his line to try to clear the danger, Gallen calmly lobbed the ball into the back of the net. The ball seemed to take an age to cross the line but it sneaked just inside the post sparking celebrations from the 500 or so who had made the long journey, and also allowing us to taunt the gobby Palace fan.

There is clearly no love lost between the two occupants of Selhurst Park as even the Wimbledon fans began to celebrate the probable demise of their landlords, and as Town poured forward in search of a winner you got the feeling that both sets of supporters would have been happy with a home defeat. Shortly after the equaliser Town had 2 further chances through Gallen but this time he was unable to find the target and when Delroy Facey worked himself a good position in the penalty area he contrived to drag his effort wide when a pass to Booth might have been a better option. Gallen looked lively after his introduction (presumably because he is out of contract at the end of this season) and after rounding the keeper also failed to get his effort on target as Town looked for the goal that would close the season 5 days early.

Sadly though the winner never materialised but after a late foray from Wimbledon’s Nielsen that came to nought thanks to Kevin Gray’s persistence we had to be content with a single point. Booth and Gray both threw their shirts into the crowd after the final whistle but my arms weren’t long enough to catch one. There was a feeling of semi-euphoria, as we now knew that if Palace failed to collect maximum points in either of their final 2 games then we were safe and we could head off to the Travel Inn to sink a well-deserved pint.

Wimbledon 1 (Ainsworth 51)

TOWN 1 (Gallen 73)

Position in table – 20th

Town – Margetson; Jenkins; Lucketti; Gray; Moses; Thornley (Gallen 70); Armstrong; Holland; Facey; Booth; Baldry (Irons 82). Subs not used – Gorré Heary; Hay.

Wimbledon – Davis; Roberts; Holloway; Euell; Hughes; Williams; Ainsworth; Gray (Morgan 72); Agyemang (Neilson 78); Hawkins; Gier. Subs not used – Kimble; Heald; Willmott.

Referee – Paul Armstrong (Berkshire). Attendance 4,956



All words and thoughts by Chris except where stated.

A big thank you to Machala for putting up with me doing this and Ian for his support and my Mum for her proof reading.

If you enjoyed this site ... send me a message

If not - tell me