Harrold's hat-trick a royal flush

AFC Wimbledon 1 Wycombe 4

Royalty came to the Kingsmeadow last night, and produced a regal hat-trick. Well, almost. Matt Harrold, a jobbing striker for Wycombe Wanderers, is such a dead ringer for Prince Harry he has featured in a television documentary on the subject. AFC Wimbledon's defence, perhaps overly aware they now play in the Royal Borough of Kingston, granted him the freedom of their defence and the 24-year-old took full advantage in this FA Cup first-round tie.

Harrold's treble earned Wycombe a trip to Nottinghamshire to play Eastwood Town, of the Northern Premier League, in the second round on 29 November. Wimbledon can return to their main aim; that of climbing the non-league pyramid back into the league.

Unsurprisingly, given the circumstances of their founding, they guard their traditions jealously at Wimbledon. After long and sometimes bitter negotiations MK Dons ceded to AFC the right to regard the original club's triumphs, including the 1988 FA Cup triumph, as their own.

One tradition, however, has been forgotten. The feared "Wimbledon way" of Dave Bassett, Vinnie Jones and John Fashanu, with its physicality and direct football, was nowhere to be seen last night. Instead the Blue Square South club sought to build from the back, pass through midfield, work the ball wide and get behind the Wycombe defence.

The motivation was as much philosophical as practical. Wimbledon's manager, Terry Brown, said beforehand he had considered a negative, spoiling approach, but that was not playing to his team's strengths. He added: "I want our players to play without fear and express themselves. They need to show me they possess the courage and composure to pass the ball under pressure when it matters."

Admirable words, but while Wimbledon are a good side at their own level so are Wycombe, and League Two is two tiers higher. "We looked naïve," admitted Brown afterwards, "and it was down to the way I sent us out to play. Because they are a big side I thought we'd play football from the start and it cost us. But we don't play the old Wimbledon way."

Eight minutes into the match the Wimbledon goalkeeper Andy Little eschewed kicking long to take advantage of the wind, instead passing to Jake Leberl. The centre-half, who as a youngster watched the Dons at Plough Lane, played a risky pass and the ball came to Harrold. For a man with one previous goal this season he converted with aplomb.

The Dons kept passing, but Wycombe's defence were well-drilled. Peter Taylor's teams usually pass the ball well themselves but Wycombe, in deference to the conditions, were happy to go long. Ten minutes from the break Chris Zebroski rose to flick on a long punt and Harrold rounded Little to score.

The Wombles were given hope after 56 minutes when Sam Hatton turned in a cross by Davis but Matt Phillips soon scored his first senior goal to silence the home support and Harrold completed his treble 17 minutes from time.

"These games can be banana skins," said Taylor, "if we were complacent we'd have been punished." Brown concluded: "They have done the perfect job on us, but we'll have learnt from it. I have."

AFC Wimbledon (4-4-2): Little; Garrard, Leberl, Inns, Haswell (Hussey, 66); Hatton, Adjei, Davis, Godfrey (Finn, 66); Kedwell, Main (Mason, 89). Substitutes not used: Goodliffe, Pullen (gk), Judge, Aiteouakrim.

Wycombe Wanderers (4-5-1): Shearer; Hunt, Williamson, McCraken, Woodman; Zebroski, Mousinho, Holt (Duncan, 84), Spence, Phillips (Vieira, 78); Harrold (Bloomfield, 89). Substitutes not used: Young, Crooks, Ashton, Johnson.

Referee: A Taylor (Wythenshawe).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea