Downes keen to make more FA Cup history after AFC Wimbledon reach fourth round

AFC Wimbledon reached the fourth round of the FA Cup for the first time since their reformation when they beat Fleetwood 3-2 and boss Wally Downes sees no reason why they cannot make more history.

The old Wimbledon beat Liverpool 1-0 in the 1988 final to lift the famous trophy.

AFC Wimbledon, formed in 2002, had never been past the third-round stage before Kwesi Appiah’s late winner secured their progress at Highbury on Saturday.

Andy Barcham opened the scoring in the first half, with Anthony Hartigan making it 2-0 to the Dons 10 minutes after the break.

But Paddy Madden’s 70th-minute effort and Ched Evans’ penalty levelled things up.

Appiah had the last word in the 90th minute and Downes was happy to keep their cup hopes alive.

He said: “There is a tradition with it.

“It is probably the biggest giant killing of all time when they did it.

“I think the country holds Wimbledon in high esteem with the FA Cup as much as the club does.

“There is a connection there and long may it continue.”

When asked if he wants to make more history, he added: “It is only five games away now… Why are you laughing?”

Downes’ side sit bottom of the League One table, 12 places below Joey Barton’s Fleetwood.

And the 57-year-old said the way the Dons won the game has left his side bubbling with joy.

He said: “The boys are bubbling about it.

“You cannot beat a 90th-minute winner, even though it took us to stand off the last four minutes and not concede again when the FA Cup would normally dictate that it would happen.

“I could easily have seen it being 3-3.

“It was a terrific performance. A great result.”

Barton had to watch from the stands as he served the first of his two-game touchline ban after an FA misconduct charge.

And the Town boss was disappointed to get knocked out of the cup.

He said: “Absolutely devastated because I love the FA Cup.

“It is massive for clubs like us.

“But credit to Wimbledon – they hung in there, defended the box when they had to and hit us on the counter attack.

“I’ve got no dough now because we are out of the FA Cup!

“I am back to free transfers.

“I thought I might get my first little bit of transfer fee spent but I am back in the loan market and the bargain bucket again for this window.

“The FA Cup is big for us and Wimbledon.

“Hopefully they will get a big tie in the next round and make a few quid because it is the lifeblood of clubs like us and Wimbledon.

“It can make or break the season.

“Gutted because I would have liked that little bit of money to invest in the side but I’m really pleased with the character of the lads.

“We went 2-0 down but they never stopped scrapping, fighting.

“I’m really frustrated that they gave that goal away but they gave everything for me and that is all I can ask for.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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