By Gerry Prewett.
Rovers record in these ties is excellent with 9 wins, 3 draws and 4 defeats in the 16 games played. The first game was actually AFC’s very first League game at the start of the 2011/12 season. The live televised match provided great entertainment. Goals by McGleish and Harrold had Rovers cruising within 20 minutes. AFC then fought back and Stuart was on the scoresheet 7 minutes before half-time. On 67 minutes Kingsmeadow erupted as Ademeno pulled AFC level. It was left for Adam Virgo to spoil the party with an 84thminute penalty to take all 3 points back down the M4 to Bristol.
Rovers should have had the game out of Wimbledon's reach by half time, but allowed their hosts to get back on level terms before they settled things with that late penalty. The team contained ten players making their Rovers league debut.
The following season an appalling first half display saw Rovers give away 3 goals in 14 minutes to lose any chance of taking anything from the game. To cap it all they finished the game with ten men after Tom Parkes picked up his second yellow card of the evening on 83 minutes.
It was no real surprise when Wimbledon took the lead on 14 minutes. A ball in from the right seemed to catch everyone by surprise and appeared to hit Gary Kenneth on the shin and roll into an unguarded net. Incessant pressure from the home side saw them rewarded with a second goal on the half hour mark. Midson was the provider, slipping the ball out to the right to Rashid Yussuff who comfortably slid the ball past Neil Etheridge from six yards.
Three minutes later goal number three arrived. Tom Parkes was penalised with a yellow card for a poor challenge out on the right, George Francomb floated the free kick into the area and Antwi was credited with the final touch, though from the stand it appeared to go in off of Kenneth
With just 18 minutes remaining Rovers recovered some semblance of dignity when David Clarkson set up Eaves for the fourth goal of his brief Rovers career. Winning possession some 25 yards from goal, he squared the ball to his strike partner who fired a superb shot into the top corner of the net.
Any hopes of a dramatic fight back were dashed seven minutes from time when Parkes made a rash challenge on Luke Moore and was booked for his efforts. It was his second booking of the evening, and he headed for the dressing room knowing he faced another suspension.
In 2016/17 season Rovers won both games, 2-0 on New Years Eve at the Mem and 1-0 at the Cherry Red Records Fans Stadium on 8thApril, with a Billy Bodin goal in the first minute. The following season the events were reversed, as was the scoring with Joe Piggott getting a last minute winner for the home team.
In 2018/19 AFC created the better early chances and took the lead when that man Piggott picked up a beautiful disguised pass from Anthony Hartigan and swept the ball into the far corner of the net on 22 minutes. Rovers could have been two behind if it had not been for a finger-tip save by Jack Bonham to keep out Steven Seddon's header and Tony Craig's goal-line clearance as Anthony Wordsworth hammered his follow-up on target.
Rovers nearly equalised on the hour mark after Ollie Clarke put Gavin Reilly through on goal, but Aaron Ramsdale was equal to the Scotsman's shot. But with 10 minutes to go Rovers got their goal as Clarke showed brilliant skill to shift the ball onto his left foot and bend his 20-yard strike beyond Ramsdale.
In last season’s clash, Marcus Forss' put the Dons on course for their first win of the season as he opened the scoring on 20 minutes. But Abu Ogogo levelled for the Gas nine minutes later with a smart finish and the game turned in the second half as the hosts were reduced to 10 men.
Forss was sent off for a second yellow card for a foul on Jonson Clarke-Harris after 66 minutes, having earlier been booked for celebrating excessively after scoring.
Clarke-Harris took full advantage to fire Rovers into the lead on 75 minutes. Stand-in skipper Tony Craig put the game to bed with a close-range header in the 87th minute.