AFC Wimbledon 3-1 AFC Hornchurch

It would probably be fair to say that, for AFC Wimbledon, this season has been a story of “two steps forward, one and seven-eighths of a step back”. It started with quiet optimism that, having stalled in the Ryman League Premier Division for the previous couple of seasons, this year would be the year in which they finally took another small step on the road to fulfilling what a sizeable proportion of their supporters regard as their destiny – winning back the Football League place that was swept away from under their feet by a three-kangaroo court appointed by the FA in May 2002. In the previous six years, however, a feeling of optimism has started to be replaced by the altogether more familiar feeling of frustration that the club has, in some ways, under-achieved. Last season, they briefly led the table during the spring before fading towards the end of the season and eventually losing 1-0 at Bromley in the play-off semi-finals. AFC Hornchurch, meanwhile, were formed in 2005 after Hornchurch FC closed down. The original club had been bank-rolled by the a double glazing company whose own sudden closure, with the team playing for promotion from the Conference South, left themin serious financial difficulties. The new club started again in the Essex Senior League, winning their way quickly back into the Ryman League, where they won the...

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