Taylor did not tell team-mates about tragedy until after win
Lyle Taylor starred in AFC Wimbledon’s FA Cup win over Charlton despite a family tragedy only a day earlier.
The striker scored twice for the Dons as they won the South London derby 3-1 to book their place in the third round draw.
But Taylor was clearly emotional at the final whistle after his aunt, who lives in Seattle, USA, lost her battle against cancer on Saturday morning.
“It’s tough – but today was for her,” said the 27-year-old, whose goal tally moved to seven for the campaign. “The manager told me if I needed the time, to be with my family.
“But we’re in a bit of a position which is precarious, to say the least, and it’s not going to get any better being sat at home. I need to be around the boys. I didn’t tell anyone.
“It was said after the game, when I was in tears in the changing room. There’s a lot of emotion.
“Family is family, regardless of whether you see them once a month or once a week. She was on the other side of the world with my uncle. If anything, that makes it a little bit harder – with what has been happening and not being able to be there for him or for her.
“We’ll stick together as a family, pull together and we’ll get through.
“She had had cancer for a while but obviously with the flow of information from my uncle, we thought she had got past it. And then three weeks ago we found out she had three weeks and 12 hours [left to live].
“She’s passed, but she is not in pain anymore. That’s a good thing.
“Both goals and the win are for her.” Cody McDonald, who also netted for the Dons, added: “We didn’t know until after the game.
“He just told us all in there. What character to put on a brave face in training yesterday and before the game. To go out and put in a performance like that, all credit to him.
“We wish him and his family all the best.
“He’s shown a lot of faith in the club and his family to come and play. I’m sure the manager would have let him have today off if he wanted, but he obviously felt he had a job to do and that he wanted to do it for the passing in the family.
“He showed mental strength. He was tearing around at the end, up front on his own. His family should be very proud of him tonight.”
Wimbledon boss Neal Ardley admitted that Charlton’s long injury list helped them to nullify the visitors.
“If you look at their team at The Valley they had Clarke, Fosu and Holmes – all of their available players who like to play in behind the striker – it’s not just one or two.
“On Sunday it was slightly different – Holmes and Marshall were their main threats. We tried to pick a system at home, in a cup tie, that had a real go at them but was mindful of their threat on the break.
“The first half was a little bit of a tennis match – you have an attack, we have an attack – they scored from a breakaway. We tried to nail that down at half-time and we were a lot better.
“We had to keep their key players quiet – and that wasn’t easy.
“We want a good cup run. We’re still in two of them and the third round is a great start. Now we’ve got to try and get the 30-32 points in the league between now and May. It’s a good start to the week.”
Cody McDonald had only netted in the EFL Trophy before the start of November but provided a goal – his third in five matches – and an assist at the weekend.
Ardley said: “Cody was brilliant, he worked tirelessly. The one thing that stands out is what he did for the second goal. Some players lose their composure but the way he rolled that into Lyle’s path – they are the sort of things I like in the team.
“If other players can cause problems then Cody is the type of player who it frees him up for chances. We brought him off because we might need him Tuesday [in the EFL Trophy] and we’re going to need him on Saturday.”