Villagers will make most of FA Cup tie

WITH £3,500 prize money on offer, tomorrow's FA Cup second qualifying round tie between Debenham Leisure Centre and AFC Wimbledon (kick-off 3pm) will be keenly fought.

By Elvin King

WITH £3,500 prize money on offer, tomorrow's FA Cup second qualifying round tie between Debenham Leisure Centre and AFC Wimbledon (kick-off 3pm) will be keenly fought.

But, with Debenham manager Mel Aldis' liking for a joke and Wimbledon's Crazy Gang image, this David versus Goliath contest should not be without its lighter moments.

“There should be a party atmosphere and it is a game that win, lose or draw we aim to enjoy,” said Aldis.


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“To be playing what is effectively an FA Cup-winning club in our first year in the competition is surely unique. And we plan to make the most of the day.”

It was 20 seasons ago that Wimbledon shocked the football world by beating Liverpool 1-0 at Wembley Stadium to hold aloft the most sought after trophy in cup football. At that time there was no serious Saturday football in Debenham with the Debenham Angels not entering the SIL until 1991 and winning Division Seven in 1992/93.

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Wimbledon, who play in the Ryman Premier League, are expected to bring between 600 and 800 supporters, and the current Maitlands ground record of 189 should be shattered with the gates opening at 1.0pm.

“We will have four entry pay points and car parking will be allowed at the school next door,” said Aldis, who has praised Wimbledon for their help in what has been a hectic time.

“Wimbledon have been helpful in making the arrangements for our big day. We ask fans to arrive early.”

The match is not all-ticket with admission £7 for adults and £4 for concessions with informal segregation.

While AFC Wimbledon have a wonderful pedigree, Debenham were still playing junior football in 2004 and did not rise above Division Four of the Metaltec SIL until 1997.

Debenham will be without midfielder Robbie Kemp who is on honeymoon, while they have three players who won the Carlsberg Pub Cup for Earl Soham Victoria at Wembley in 2000 - John Farrell, Ian Gedny and Kevin Barker.

Gedny and his free-scoring strike partner Stuart Jopling will offer the biggest threat to a Wimbledon team that is meeting at Bishop's Stortford at 11.am.

Marcus Gayle, a member of the original Wimbledon club, is still playing at the age of 37, while former Peterborough, Swindon, Bristol Rovers and Barnet striker Guiliano Grazioli, 32, is expected to play up front.

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