FC Halifax Town’s hopes of a place in the FA Cup third round were ended as League One AFC Wimbledon won 3-1 at The Shay.
Goals from Ben Purrington, Anthony Wordsworth and Joe Piggott sent The Dons through in-front of the BT Sport cameras, with a late James Hanson own goal reducing the deficit.
The previous incarnations of both these clubs knew a thing or two about cup upsets, and there seemed to be one in the air as Town overran the visitors during an excellent first-half in which Matty Kosylo hit the post after a glorious run.
Town were unchanged from their nightmare at Ebbsfleet last Saturday, but if the same 11 were unrecognisable in that game from the one that preceded it, that was the case again here in a stirring first-half.
Town fans will have been wondering which Halifax was going to turn up - the one that saw off Morecambe so wonderfully, or the one that collapsed so disappointingly at Ebbsfleet. It was undoubtedly the former during the opening 45 minutes, although Town never really recovered from Purrington’s goal just before half-time.
Town looked up for the game from the off. A free-kick within two minutes was headed straight at Wimbledon keeper Joe McDonnell by his own player.
Dayle Southwell’s drilled free-kick right on the edge of the box was then deflected behind.
And from Southwell’s next free-kick near the corner flag, Josh Staunton, in similar fashion to his chance against Morecambe at The Shay, fired off target from close range after a goalmouth scramble following McDonnell’s poor punch.
Halifax came even closer after 20 minutes when Kosylo was denied a classic FA Cup goal when his technique and close control helped him dribble round Wimbledon players close to both boxes before his low shot agonisingly came back off the base of the post.
Wimbledon were on the ropes, with Cameron King intercepting a pass 30 yards out and finding Jordan Preston, but he fired over from a tight angle when crossing may have been a better option.
The first hint of danger from the visitors wasn’t until half-an-hour in, when Mitch Pinnock’s driven shot was saved by Sam Johnson, before Jake Jervis put the rebound wide from the edge of the area.
The influential King then cut inside from the left and forced McDonnell into a smart save, as Town continued to look a threat against a fragile Dons defence.
Against Morecambe, Town had turned their superiority into a goal, but their failure to do so here cost them dear as Purrington provided the sting in the tale, his shot across goal deflected in after Town failed to clear a cross from the right.
It was extremely harsh on Halifax; a brutal lesson in taking your chances.
The opening half ended with The Shaymen’s appeals for a penalty falling on deaf ears after Southwell appeared to be fouled on the goal-line trying to meet Kosylo’s cross.
The unjust nature of the first-half was summed up when Southwell was then booked for his protestations.
Town didn’t have the same incisiveness after the restart, with Southwell intercepting a pass near the D of the Wimbledon box but the chance fizzled out, and Preston shanking a cross from the right after being found by King.
Wimbledon had improved though, looking more like a League One outfit having gained some composure and seeing more of the ball inside the Halifax half, with Pinnock the spearhead.
The verve and zip had gone from The Shaymen, and by the time Wimbledon scored their second, there looked no way back, Wordsworth cutting inside on his left foot and hammering a shot into the top corner.
Piggott made it two goals in four minutes against a now dispirited Shaymen, who knew the game was up, when he reacted quickest to a free-kick into the box and poked it home.
Substitute Hanson’s late own goal, inadvertently heading in Niall Maher’s cross, was the least Town deserved for their efforts.
And if sub Jonathan Edwards had put Kosylo’s cross in at the far post rather than side-footing wide a couple of minutes later, it would have been a grandstand finish.
Halifax: Johnson, Hanson, Clarke, Brown, Sellers, Staunton, Maher, Preston, King (McLeod 62), Kosylo, Southwell (Edwards 76). Subs not used: Rowley, Duckworth, Skarz, Odelusi.
Scorer: Hanson (og 86)
Shots on target: 3
Shots off target:7
Wimbledon: McDonnell, Durrington, Oshilaja, Nightingale, McDonald, Hartigan, Soares (Trotter 63), Wordsworth (Wagstaff 74), Jervis (Hanson 74), Pinnock, Piggott. Subs not used: King, Watson, Thomas, Burey.
Scorers: Purrington (42), Wordsworth (72), Piggott (75)
Shots on target: 5
Shots off target:10
Referee: Ben Toner
Town man of the match: Jacob Hanson