TEN-MAN York City put up a tremendous fight before bowing out of the FA Cup 4-3 after extra-time at AFC Wimbledon last night.
Despite losing Scott Kerr following a second bookable offence after 35 minutes, the Minstermen took the first round replay to its full distance following Jamie Reed’s last-gasp equaliser.
Goals from home strikers Byron Harrison and Jack Midson, though, saw the hosts tee up a possible meeting with bitter rivals and status stealers MK Dons, should they overcome Cambridge City tonight. The visitors had earlier taken a 22nd-minute lead courtesy of an own goal by Dons goalkeeper Seb Brown, but Charlie Strutton levelled before the break with Kerr also sent off after fouling and injuring Wimbledon’s Rashid Yussuff in the build-up to the equaliser.
Strutton looked to have settled the tie with his second goal of the night late in the second half only for substitute Reed to pounce on 90 minutes with his first kick of the ball.
Goals from Harrison and Midson on 97 and 99 minutes respectively then swung the tie back in the hosts’ favour, although Reed’s second of the night in the second period of extra time ensured the outcome was in the balance right until the final whistle.
City boss Gary Mills made one change from the side that started Saturday’s 3-0 League defeat to the Dons at Bootham Crescent.
With on-loan striker Alex Rodman ineligible, Dan Parslow was recalled in a right-back role, allowing Lanre Oyebanjo to push into midfield and Matty Blair to switch back to the right wing.
Home boss Neil Ardley, meanwhile, made six changes to his first XI with weekend marksmen Harrison and Stacy Long both benched.
In an absorbing first half, the hosts survived an early penalty scare when Mat Mitchel-King tangled with Jason Walker but referee Keith Stroud ignored City’s appeals and cautioned Kerr for protesting too vehemently.
On ten minutes, Oyebanjo then spurned a superb chance when, following a typical burst into the six-yard box, he threw himself at a Kearns left-wing cross but headed over Brown’s crossbar.
At the other end, the Wombles were presented with their first opportunity when Clarke Carlisle’s clearance smacked Parslow in the face and floored him.
Consequently, the ball broke to Christian Jolley but he fired wide of goalkeeper Michael Ingham’s near post.
City, though, continued to set the pace with Brown doing well to push away a terrific 25-yard drive from Oyebanjo.
Kearns then saw his effort from a similar distance deflected wide for the corner that led to the opening goal.
The on-loan Peterborough midfielder aimed his inswinging flag-kick to Brown’s near post and the Wombles ’keeper, under pressure from Carlisle and Chris Smith, punched the ball into his own net.
Shortly afterwards, Kearns rattled Brown’s bar with a thumping 25-yard strike before teeing up Blair for a header that was saved by the busy home ’keeper.
The Dons, however, levelled the scores on 34 minutes when Kearns struggled to clear on the edge of his own penalty box.
Kerr then clattered into a challenge on Yussuff but Mr Stroud played advantage and, after Strutton had smashed a 20-yard effort into Ingham’s bottom left-hand corner, the Dorset official dismissed the City midfielder for a second bookable offence.
But the spirited visitors went close to scoring three more times before the break, having reshuffled as Parslow swapped positions with Oyebanjo and Blair also provided midfield support.
First, Walker headed inches wide from an excellent Jamal Fyfield cross.
Walker also saw a second header kicked off the line after Smith had helped on a Kearns corner and Blair struck the bar from 15 yards following Brown’s poor clearance.
The first shot of the second period saw Jim Fenlon fire wide for Wimbledon from 25 yards while Ashley Chambers had a free-kick deflected off target for the Minstermen.
Jolley’s low edge-of-the-box drive was then safely gathered by Ingham but the hosts forged in front on 78 minutes when Strutton’s speed harassed Smith into a mistake.
The City captain stretched a leg out in desperation, forcing Ingham into a fine save down to his right to prevent an own goal but Strutton was then on hand to tap the ball into an empty net.
Strutton should have then claimed his hat-trick on 85 minutes but fired wide with only Ingham to beat after holding off a Fyfield challenge.
It temporarily proved a costly miss with Reed grabbing a 90th-minute equaliser with his first touch after coming on from the bench.
Carlisle met Ingham’s long free-kick to the far post with his head and Reed pounced from close range to shoot past Brown and force another half-hour’s play.
But Wimbledon struck twice in the opening period of extra-time, following raids down the left by full-back Warren Cummings.
His first cross ricocheted off an unwitting Harrison and beat Ingham low to his right.
Harrison then met Cummings’ next delivery to the far post, heading neatly to Midson who finished well from seven yards. Skipper Smith, sent forward as a makeshift striker, then headed over from six yards on 111 minutes and Chambers forced an impressive near-post save before goal poacher Reed grabbed his second of the night after Brown had smothered a close-range Carlisle effort.
AFC Wimbledon 4 (Strutton 34 78, Harrison 97, Midson 99), York City 4 (Brown og 22, Reed 90 119)
York City: Michael Ingham 7, Dan Parslow 7, Chris Smith 6, Clarke Carlisle 8, Jamal Fyfield 8, Scott Kerr 6, Danny Kearns 9, Lanre Oyebanjo 8,Matty Blair 7, Jason Walker 7, Ashley Chambers 8.
Substitutes: Oli Johnson 7 for Walker 85; Jamie Reed 8 for Parslow 89.
(Subs not used): David McGurk, Paul Musselwhite, Michael Potts, Jon Chalinor, Chris Doig.
Star man: Danny Kearns – classy in possession again and a constant threat.
AFC Wimbledon: Seb Brown, Jim Fenlon (Curtis Osano 62), Mat Mitchel-King, Yado Mambo, Warren Cummings, Christian Jolley, Steven Gregory, Huw Johnson (Byron Harrison 61), Rashid Yussuff (Stacy Long 42), Jack Midson, Charlie Strutton.
Subs: (not used) Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz, Callum McNaughton, Will Antwi.
Referee: Keith Stroud (Dorset).
Referee rating: 6/10.
Booked: Kerr 8, Gregory 13, Strutton 80, Johnson 108.
Sent off: Kerr 35.
Attendance: 1,954 (210 City fans).
Shots on target: Dons 8, City 9.
Shots off target: Dons 5, City 9.
Corners: Dons 8, City 9.
Fouls conceded: Dons 19, City 8.
Offsides: Dons 4, City 0.