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Tuesday, 11 February, 2003, 23:01 GMT
Zdrilic sends Walsall through
Walsall 1-0 Wimbledon
Walsall's David Zdrilic
Zdrilic's fifth goal of the season settled matters

Australian David Zdrilic booked Walsall's place in the fifth round of the FA Cup with a late winner against Wimbledon.

Zdrilic struck after 75 minutes when he fired in a Jorge Leitao cross to beat the 1988 Cup winners.

The Saddlers deserved the goal in a game which struggled to come to life on a difficult surface.

The first half at the Bescot Stadium was almost instantly forgettable .

Wimbledon's Neil Shipperley came closest to scoring before the interval when he curled a shot towards the top corner but Walsall keeper James Walker saved.

It didn't surprise me that Zdrilic popped up with the winner

Walsall manager Colin Lee

Wimbledon winger Gareth Ainsworth, a target for Walsall, came on at half-time and showed his skill almost straight away.

He drove dangerously into the box before being sent crashing by Zigor Aranalde, bringing furious penalty protests for the visitors which were waved casually away.

Former Leeds defender Danny Hay hoofed a near-post Shipperley flick away from danger.

You have to give Walsall some credit because we didn't start very well at all

Wimbledon manager Stuart Murdoch

At the other end Aranalde had the chance to volley at the edge of the area but his technique let him down and his shot flew well wide.

The miss was the prelude to the most entertaining period of the match, which ended when Zdrilic broke the deadlock.

Davis twice did well to deny Darren Wrack and Aranalde before Danny Sonner released Leitao down the right.

Although his cross looked to be mis-hit, it had the power to find Zdrilic, who drove home his first-time effort to send his side through.


Walsall: Walker, Hay, Roper, Barras, Bazeley, Wrack, Sonner, Simpson (Matias 74), Aranalde, Leitao, Zdrilic.
Subs not used: Ward, Corica, Wright, Stanley.

Booked: Hay.

Wimbledon: Davis, Leigertwood, Williams, Gier, Hawkins, Agyemang (Ainsworth 45), Andersen (Reo-Coker 74), Francis, Tapp (Gray 82), Shipperley, Connolly.
Subs not used: Nowland, Gore.

Booked: Tapp, Shipperley.

Attendance: 6,693

Referee: P Walton (Northamptonshire).

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BBC Five Live's John Rawling
"Walsall had the sheer guts to prevail"

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