Following on from the supporters’ match between the two clubs in the morning, won 7-3 by AFC Wimbledon, Rebels fans pondered whether the afternoon game would be as competitive. The answer was provided in the opening quarter of an hour.
Boosted by the FA decision to reduce an 18-point penalty down to just three, Wimbledon wasted no time in proving their point. Debutant Richard Jolly, a deadline signing from Heybridge, cleverly flicked on a corner kick at the near post for former Rebel Antony ‘Frankie’ Howard to rifle home from six yards, leaving Jackson no chance, after just two minutes.
On 13 minutes, the Wombles increased their lead. A long ball from left-back Haswell was misjudged by Jackson, who could only flap at it. Midfielder O’Leary hooked the ball home to double the home side’s lead.
Two became three just two minutes later. Following a good save from Jackson, the Rebels failed to clear properly, and a mishit shot from Steve Ferguson became the perfect cross for Lewis Cook to dive in at the far post to head Wimbledon into a commanding 3-0 lead.
Things went from bad to worse three minutes later as a long ball from the back was latched onto by Steve Ferguson. He easily outpaced and outmuscled Mark Hokan, turning the Slough right-back inside out before sending his low left-footed effort across Jackson and into the bottom corner, despite the best efforts of Jon Mills to get back to the goal line. The Slough fans gathered behind the goal could only look on as the game went the way of so many others before it. The score read 4-0 after 18 minutes.
Wimbledon pressed forward again with Ferguson failing to get proper contact on a Lewis Cook cross. Soon after, Richard Jolly thought he had made it five as he fired home after a Steve Wales flick-on from a Lee O’Leary cross – but his effort was ruled out by an offside flag. Video evidence suggested that the decision was marginal. At the other end, Slough struggled desperately to string two passes together as the hosts denied them space and time.
Yet another gilt-edged chance arrived as a poor Bizon backpass was latched onto by Jolly. The striker rounded ‘keeper Jackson, but was too cocky as he tried to skip past Steve Daly and onto his left foot. A covering challenge from Jon Mills allowed Slough the chance to clear. Jolly later fired an effort over the bar as he searched for his first Wimbledon goal.
Slough’s only real sniff at goal came when Steve Daly flicked a long Jon Mills free-kick into the path of Matt Miller, but the striker could not stretch enough to get proper contact on the ball, and the chance was gone. Miller saw another effort well blocked soon after, and from this Wimbledon went straight on the counter attack, with Ferguson again testing Jackson. This time, the ‘keeper got enough on the ball to prevent another goal.
Half time arrived, much to the relief of the Slough faithful, who had the opportunity to meet Haydon the Womble – and cover him in silly string as the party mood continued.
Slough held out until the 62nd minute before conceding a sixth, and another moment Jamie Jackson will want to forget. A short corner routine ended with Steve Wales crossing to the near post, with Jackson only able to palm the ball into the side of his net for 5-0. Jackson did make a good save minutes later however, as he pushed a curling effort from Lewis Cook wide of the post.
The Slough fans, who claimed throughout that the Ryman League was in fact upside-down, saw another short corner routine lead to Wimbledon’s sixth. Steve Wales provided the cross again, and Antony Howard sent a scorching left-footed volley into the roof of Jackson’s net from the edge of the box. A great goal, followed by exuberant celebrations and a yellow card.
Yet another short corner and cross from Wales was Slough’s downfall for the seventh. Howard was inexplicably left unmarked at the back post, and he send a towering header back across into the opposite corner of the goal to complete an unlikely hat-trick against his former club.
To Slough’s credit, they never changed their system to try and limit the damage, and at least attempted to play football, no matter how futile the cause. Terry Davies picked up a loose pass in midfield, came forward and drilled an effort wide from 30 yards in what was Slough’s only real effort in the match.
Seven became eight with five minutes remaining. A cross from substitute Richard Butler was met by Richard Jolly’s head, and the former Heybridge man could finally celebrate his debut goal.
There was still time for a ninth to complete the rout, but not before Wimbledon had one effort blocked on the line by one of their own players. Eventually Wes Daly was able to pick the ball up on the edge of the box and work his way down the right, before drilling in a low cross which was converted by Butler.
With the Rebels faithful claiming that they were going to win 10-9, Wimbledon went in search of a tenth to give them a record-breaking margin of victory – and they almost got it too. A Lewis Cook effort was pushed away by Jackson into the path of Jolly, who fired home, but from an offside position.
Although the match was difficult for a Slough supporter to watch, the away fans at the Kingston Road end could take solace from the fact that their non-stop support for the Rebels was appreciated and acknowledged by both sets of players and also the opposition fans. AFC Wimbledon put on a breathtaking attacking display and were clinical and ruthless as they looked to improve their goal difference for their title challenge, resulting in Slough Town’s heaviest defeat since the 1920's.
AFC Wimbledon Line up
Clark Masters, Simon Sweeney, Michael Haswell, Lee O'Leary, Paul Lorraine, Antony Howard, Steve Ferguson, Wes Daly, Steve Wales, Richard Jolly, Lewis Cook. Substitues: Roscoe Dsane, Andy Little, Richard Butler, Ryan Peters, Luke Garrard.