Dan Coker's Match Preview

This evening’s match sees West Ham United take on AFC Wimbledon for just the second time. Today’s preview incorporates a focus on the widely-recognised previous incarnation of the club, as Wimbledon FC.

Blast from the past

West Ham United met ‘the old’ Wimbledon twice in the FA Cup. The Hammers drew the first of these matches 1-1 in the fifth round on 4th March 1985 before emerging victorious in the replay two days later with a 5-1 win at the Boleyn Ground on 6th March 1985.

Dead Or Alive were number one with ‘You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)’, the year-long Miners’ Strike had just ended and The Breakfast Club was in UK cinemas. 20,258 were in attendance at Upton Park as John Lyall’s First Division West Ham United took on Second Division Wimbledon, managed by Dave Bassett.

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A hat-trick from 19-year-old Tony Cottee (pictured above) and goals from Paul Allen and Alan Dickens settled the replay decisively in the Irons’ favour, with the east Londoners easing through to the last eight. The Hammers would go on to be beaten 4-2 at Manchester United three days later in the quarter-final. The Red Devils would march on to win the Final at Wembley, beating Everton 1-0. Paul Allen would go on to win the Hammer of the Year for 1984/85, with Cottee runner-up.

West Ham United: Tom McAlister, Ray Stewart, Paul Hilton, Alvin Martin, Paul Brush, Paul Allen, Neil Orr, Alan Dickens, Alan Devonshire, Tony Cottee, Paul Goddard (Dave Swindlehurst).

Club Connections

Players who have represented Wimbledon, in either of their forms, and West Ham United include:

Goalkeeper: Ian Feuer, Steve Banks.

Defenders: Callum McNaughton, Nigel Winterburn, Jon Harley.

Midfielders: Michael Hughes, Johnny Ayris, Nigel Reo-Coker, Jobi McAnuff, Adam Nowland.

Strikers: Johnny Cartwright, John Hartson, Dave Swindlehurst, David Connolly.

In addition, Bobby Gould played for the Hammers before going on to manage Wimbledon.

Today’s focus is on a former West Ham United midfielder who had a loan spell with Wimbledon. George Moncur was born on the 18th August 1993 in Swindon, where his family was based whilst his father John was playing for the Wiltshire club – John Moncur would join the Hammers a year later and would go on to make 203 appearances in claret and blue. Brought up in Loughton, Essex, George attended Roding Valley High School and began as a full-time scholar at the West Ham United Academy in 2009. Having already played and scored for the Under-16s, he scored his first goal for the Under-18s at the age of 15 on 22nd July 2009. He made his debut for the reserves seven months later and earned his first professional contract in September 2010, signing a three-year deal after becoming a regular in Tony Carr’s Under-18 team and breaking into Alex Dyer’s reserve team.

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Hammers boss Sam Allardyce allowed Moncur to join League Two club AFC Wimbledon on a one-month loan deal in January 2012. He made his professional debut for Wimbledon on 14th January 2012, starting in their 2-1 win at Port Vale. After making four appearances, including other wins at Gillingham and at home against Macclesfield, and with his loan expiring on 4th February, Moncur expressed a desire to extend his stay with the Kingsmeadow club. His loan was ultimately extended three times and he ended up spending the rest of the 2011/12 campaign with the Dons – he scored his first professional goal in a 4-0 home win over Burton on 24th March 2012 and scored his second and final goal in his last home appearance for the club, a 2-0 victory over Torquay on 21st April 2012. Moncur’s 20th and final appearance for Wimbledon came in a 4-0 defeat at Martin Allen’s Barnet a week later.

Prior to the end of Moncur’s loan, Wimbledon boss Terry Brown had hoped to bring the player back to the club for the 2012/13 season. Moncur stayed with the now-Premier League Hammers and made his debut in claret and blue ten days after his 19th birthday, as an 84th-minute substitute in a 2-0 League Cup second round win over Crewe at the Boleyn Ground on 28th August 2012. Speaking personally, it made me feel very old to see George Moncur and Dan Potts, the sons of two of my childhood heroes in John Moncur and Steve Potts, together in the same West Ham first team that night! Moncur was named Young Hammer of the Year at the end of the 2012/13 campaign and made his only start for the Irons on 5th January 2014 in the infamous 5-0 FA Cup third round defeat at Nottingham Forest – this was to prove to be his second and final appearance for West Ham United.

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Moncur, a devout Christian, went on loan to Scottish side Partick Thistle at the end of January 2014, staying north of the border until the end of the season. He joined Colchester in another loan deal in the summer of 2014, making the move permanent in November 2014 – he went on to score the decisive goal which would keep Colchester in League One at the end of the 2014/15 campaign. He signed for Barnsley in the summer of 2016, although a loan spell at Peterborough soon followed. George Moncur, now 25, signed for League One Luton just over a week ago, joining former Hammers Marek Stech, Dan Potts, Pelly Ruddock and Elliot Lee in the promotion-chasing Hatters’ squad.

Referee

The referee on Saturday will be Anthony Taylor – his most recent Irons appointment was for our 3-2 home win over Crystal Palace last month. He also refereed our 4-0 opening-day defeat at Liverpool. The Hammers were only allocated the 40-year-old once last season, for our 1-0 home win over Chelsea in December 2017. In 2016/17, Taylor took charge of our 2-0 defeat at Everton in October 2016 and our 2-1 opening-day defeat at Chelsea in August 2016, awarding the home side a penalty and later controversially failing to issue a second yellow card to Diego Costa for an awful lunge at Adrian – Costa remained on the pitch to score the 89th-minute winner. He also refereed our 1-0 defeat at Leicester on New Year’s Eve 2016 and our 1-0 win over Tottenham in May 2017. Taylor officiated the Irons on five occasions in 2015/16 as he took charge of our defeat at Tottenham, as well as our home win over Newcastle which came just three games after he had controversially sent off Adrian against Leicester. He was also the man in the middle for our FA Cup third round win over Wolves and our 3-2 win at Everton in March 2016.

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Indeed, controversy and incident are never far away when the Cheshire-based official is the referee for a West Ham United match. Taylor was in charge when the Hammers took on Liverpool at Upton Park in April 2014, awarding a controversial and ultimately match-winning penalty to the Reds. There was also controversy surrounding Guy Demel’s equaliser for West Ham in that game. Taylor is also the referee who had not one, but two red cards rescinded from the same game after he had sent off Carlton Cole and Darron Gibson in the Hammers’ 2-1 home defeat to Everton in December 2012. He sent off the home side’s Kevin Mirallas against the Hammers at Goodison Park in March 2016 and awarded the Toffees a penalty which Romelu Lukaku saw saved by Adrian.

Possible line-ups

Wimbledon manager Wally Downes made over 200 appearances for the Dons and was a coach at West Ham between 2010 and 2012. 20-year-old goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale is on loan from Bournemouth, while 21-year-old right-back Tennai Watson is on loan from Reading. Captain and defender Deji Oshilaja came through the ranks at Cardiff. Centre-halves Paul Kalambayi and Terell Thomas are 19 and 21 respectively, although the more experienced Rod McDonald could return from an ankle injury. Striker Kwesi Appiah is also back in contention following a hamstring injury. Midfielder Anthony Hartigan is suspended for the League One side, while Steve Seddon is cup tied.

West Ham United manager Manuel Pellegrini could hand starts to Adrian, Arthur Masuaku, Pedro Obiang, Grady Diangana and Xande Silva. Ryan Fredericks could return from injury but Fabian Balbuena, Winston Reid, Carlos Sanchez, Jack Wilshere, Manuel Lanzini and Andriy Yarmolenko are definitely ruled out through injury.

Possible Wimbledon XI: Ramsdale; Watson, Kalambayi, Thomas, Oshilaja; Nightingale, Wordsworth; Jervis, Pinnock, Barcham; Pigott.

Possible West Ham United XI: Adrian; Fredericks, Diop, Ogbonna, Masuaku; Noble, Obiang, Snodgrass; Diangana, Chicharito, Xande Silva.

Enjoy the game – Come On You Irons!