Dylan Connolly stars on first start since moving from Dundalk as Wimbledon stun West Ham in the FA Cup fourth round

Sat, Jan 26 2019

Connolly in action for Dundalk against St Patrick's Athletic in 2018. Credit: Peter Fitzpatrick (ETPhotos)

Dylan Connolly starred on his first start as Wimbledon put in the giantkilling of the FA Cup fourth round with a 4-2 victory over Premier League West Ham United.

Connolly had made two substitute appearances for the Dons since making the move from League of Ireland champions earlier in the month in heavy defeats to Barnsley and Fleetwood Town.

The 23-year-old former Shelbourne, Ipswich Town and Bray Wanderers winger won the double with the Lilywhites last year and scored the winner in the Europa League first-leg tie with Levadia Tallinn.

He moved to League One strugglers Wimbledon for an undisclosed fee during the winter transfer window as new manager Wally Downes’ first signing.

Connolly was pitched in on the right-hand side of a midfield five and was Wimbledon’s outstanding player in the opening period.

A well-timed run and cross early on could have led to the first goal and he created another chance with a cushioned volley that defender Terrell Thomas should have finished.

Wimbledon led 2-0 at the break thanks to a deflected goal from Kwesi Appiah, and Appiah dispossessed West Ham’s Pedro Obiang to set Scott Wagstaff clear for a second.

Wagstaff added a third immediately from the restart, and Connolly continued to terrorise the Hammers’ defence with lightning pace on the break.

Lucas Peréz and Felipe Anderson scored in quick succession to pull the tie back to 3-2, and Wimbledon had some nervy moments at the back.

Connolly was eventually forced off six minutes from time with a leg injury, and it was his replacement, Toby Sibbick, who applied the killer blow with a header shortly after.