Wimbledon 3 (McDonald 10, Taylor70, 79), Charlton 1 (Ahearne-Grant 21).
Kevin Nolan reports from Kingston.
Karl Robinson was probably not the only one who winced when this second round Cup draw was announced. It wasn't exactly the tie from hell but it came close.
Robinson's long stint as manager of MK Dons has dragged Charlton unwillingly into the ongoing dispute between the original Dons of Wimbledon and those ersatz claim jumpers from Milton Keynes. It's become a classic ménage à trois in which the Addicks play the reluctant role of the "other club". And that always ends in tears.
With injuries beginning to bite into his squad, Robinson brought his survivors, his walking wounded but only six substitutes into the bearpit awaiting them in Kingston, where their hosts clearly fancied their chances.
Neal Ardley had targeted obvious weaknesses at the heart of the visiting defence, where Ezri Konsa and Naby Sarr are prone to error and self indulgent in possession. A steady diet of long balls, including those regularly launched by goalkeeper George Long, tested their resolve and exposed as defensive Russian Roulette their dedication to playing out from the back in favour of a more pragmatic policy. Konsa and Sarr are cultured ballplayers, admirable in their way, but not fully tuned in to what should be the pressing priorities of centre backs. It took Wimbledon just ten minutes to exploit their vulnerability.
Surging out of his own half, impressive Deji Oshilaja carried the fight into Charlton's penalty area, where he was confronted by an advancing Ben Amos and harassed by a retreating Konsa. The latter had an opportunity to clear the danger but hesitated; Amos was suitably nonplussed. Extricating the ball from an inelegant mix-up, Cody McDonald planted the gift into a gaping goal.
A minute after the disaster, Sarr's curious vulnerability in the air almost cost his side a second setback. At 6'5", he should be expected to dominate the relatively diminutive Lyle Taylor but lost out to the Dons' lively forward as they duelled under an innocuous high ball. Moving goalside of his floundering rival, Taylor drove into the sidenet from an awkward angle.
Robinson's mounting injuries have visited the centre back dilemma on him but have at least opened up possibilities elsewhere. He was well served at right back by promising Anfernee Diijksteel who, apart from conceding a dubious late penalty, was a tenacious, combative revelation.
Up front, meanwhile, Karlan Ahearne-Grant was pacy and mobile until a nasty looking mouth wound forced his premature, second half withdrawal. Having ended his goal drought with that dramatic added time equaliser against Peterborough, he made it two from two with another poacher's contribution on 21 minutes. Picking up possession as Josh Magennis flicked on Amos' long clearance, he fed Mark Marshall to his right before intelligently moving into position to turn the winger's hard, low cross past George Long from close range. It was precisely the kind of finishing that has been missing from the Addicks' armoury this season.
Left helpless by Ahearne-Grant's finish, Long distinguished himself early in the second session with fine saves from Magennis and Marshall. As the visitors piled on the pressure, the defiant keeper reacted brilliantly to fingertip Jay Dasilva's deflected drive on to the bar, with Magennis making a five-yard mess of firing the convenient rebound over the bar. Charlton had shot their bolt and it came as no surprise that the Dons removed any need of an unhelpful replay.
Accepting Barry Fuller's throw-in, Macdonald evaded Sarr's clumsy attempts to haul him back on the right touchline and, as referee Linington alertly applied advantage, shook off the huge centre back like a dog shaking off water. The striker's unselfish delivery left Taylor with the simple task of shooting past Amos and Charlton's Cup run, such as it ever is, was over bar, of course the local shouting when Dijksteel was harshly ruled to have tripped Taylor on the edge of the penalty area. The victim competently sealed the issue from the penalty spot. Not that it was ever much of an issue in the first place.
Wimbledon: Long, Fuller, Oshilaja, Charles, Meades, Barcham (Kennedy 88), Trotter, Soares, Forrester (Francomb 75), McDonald (Abdou 82), Taylor. Not used: McDonnell, Nightingale, Robinson, Kaja.
Charlton: Amos, Dijksteel, Konsa, Sarr, Dasilva, Holmes, Aribo (Lennon 88), Forster-Caskey, Marshall (Hackett-Fairchild 85), Ahearne-Grant (Best 67), Magennis. Not used: Phillips, Dodoo, Jackson. (Only six subs were named).
Referee: J. Linington. Att: 3,220 (723 visiting).