Saturday, 21 July 2001
Beveree Stadium
Hampton & Richmond Borough
0 (0) - (0) 1
Neil Shipperley

Neil Shipperley got his Dons career off to a scoring start with a headed winner two minutes from time to seal a 1-0 win over Hampton & Richmond. The £750,000 signing rose above the home defence to head home Jobi McAnuff's teasing cross to thwart the home side's dogged resistance.

Shipperley, who looked sharp throughout, was denied in the first half by two good saved from Hampton keeper Stuart McKenzie.

McAnuff, who was making his debut for the Dons at senior level, had an outstanding game on the right of midfield, hitting the post in the first half with a fine effort and caused problems throughout with his pace.

Hampton also had their chances with Ian Feuer forced to tip a Scott Robinson header onto the bar and Richard Thompson hitting the post with the goal at his mercy four minutes before the interval.

Stewart Robson, who was in charge for the day, swapped Feuer for Paul Heald at the break, and gave a debut to new signing from Blackpool, Adam Nowland.

Unfortunately for Nowland he was forced to come off just ten minutes into the second half with an ankle injury and was replaced by Neil Jenkins, with McAnuff moving up front.

The Dons were in complete control throughout with Darren Holloway and Andy Roberts looking a cut above their opponents.

Despite their superiority, Wimbledon could find no way past the inspired McKenzie, who performed heroics between the sticks to deny Jenkins and Shipperley once more.

The breakthrough finally came two minutes from time, shortly after Hampton hit the crossbar with a Steve French free-kick.

Coach Stuart Robson said afterwards, "It was a great run-out for us. They were competitive, had some athletic players and were certainly a good test for us.

"The players worked hard in Holland last week, although it was just training so it was good today to get a game under our belts.

"It was also nice to get a win and also good for Neil Shipperley to get off the mark. I was pleased with him today."

Stewart also singled out Jobi McAnuff for praise, "I thought he was our best player and showed some real signs of a young man with a real future in the game. Let's hope he can continue."