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As the game kicked off at 7.45pm there were probably around 2,000 Wycombe supporters in the ground. Traffic delays had held up most of the estimated 35 coaches travelling from High Wycombe and they would have missed the first real chance of the game on 11 minutes. A clever flick through from Michael Simpson found Steve Brown 25 yards from goal and 'Brownie's' lob had Dons' 'keeper Kelvin Davis back peddling to tip the ball over. A minute later The Dons had taken the lead when they broke from a Wycombe corner, Gareth Ainsworth picking up possession on the half-way line and running through before slotting past Martin Taylor from 12 yards. The goal gave the home side confidence and Taylor had to be alert to grab the ball from Patrick Agyemang in the 17th minute following a cross from the right.
A minute later Wycombe had strong claims for a penalty waved away after Brown's cross looked to have struck Darren Holloway on the arm. By now the travelling contingent had risen to over 4,000 and as the atmosphere livened up Wycombe struck. The goal wasn't a classic but it will be one that Dave Carroll will remember for a long time. Carroll was first on hand to stick home Andy Rammell's parried shot following Dannie Bulman's deflected drive from 30 yards.
In case anybody was in any doubt, this goal meant Wycombe meant business and although Agyemang glanced a header wide in the 36th minute, Taylor was rarely troubled.
The half ended in disarray for Wycombe as first Andy Rammell limped off with a reaction to his groin strain. Rambo's replacement Andy Baird was on the field just three minutes before he was carried off following a challenge from Mark Williams 25 yards from the Wimbledon goal. After Sam Parkin had replaced the unlucky Baird, Jamie Bates saw his free-kick charged down by The Dons defence.
Half-time Wimbledon 1 Wycombe 1
Wycombe enjoyed a good spell of possession immediately following the interval although like Wimbledon failed test the opposing 'keeper. Chris Vinnicombe mis-hit a shot on 65 minutes after Parkin had delivered from the right and two minutes later Simpson shot past the far post after Wycombe had broke with Jason Euell laying injured. Referee Eddie Wolstenholme eventually booked Jason Cousins for the original foul and minutes later Wycombe were reduced to ten men. Simpson had been booked earlier in the half for a challenge on Ainsworth and when the same player was body checked in the 70th minute the official flashed another yellow and then a red. To add to Wycombe's problems, Dave Carroll broke down with an injury in the 77th minute and was replaced by Ben Townsend.
With 90 minutes and extra-time approaching the play switched from end to end. First Vinnicombe made a important clearance at the near post after the Dons had broke down the right channel. Then in the 90th minute Parkin almost picked up a loose clearance from Davis. In the second minute of stoppage time a 40 yard free-kick from Cousins almost found its way to the head of Paul McCarthy as the ball flew inches past the post.
It was in the final minute of the allotted four minutes of stoppage that it looked like Wycombe would finally bow out. Dons' substitute Marcus Gayle got clear down the left and crossed from the bye-line. McCarthy and Wayne Gray went up for the ball at the near post and suddenly the referee was pointing to the spot for handball against 'Macca'. The decision looked harsh but there was another twist in the tale as Taylor dived to his right to save Ardley's spot-kick.
90 minutes Wycombe 1 Wimbledon 1
Extra-time and penalties >>>
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