West Ham were playing a very dangerous game at a venue where a Womble patrols the perimeter of the pitch dragging a wheelie-bin behind him.
The AFC Wimbledon mascot uses the bin primarily as a musical instrument, slamming the lid as he conducts songs from the terraces.
But since these furry TV creatures are preconditioned to tidy waste and other useless items he could easily have carted off a load of Premier League footballers at half-time.
West Ham avoid four defeats on the bounce as they beat 10-man Wimbledon at Kingsmeadow
Javier Hernandez scored West Ham’s third goal in the 92nd minutes to down Wimbledon
Angelo Ogbonna gives West Ham the lead from a corner with just six minutes remaining
WIMBLEDON: (4-4-2) King; Sibbick, Oshilaja, Rod McDonald, Garratt; Wagstaff, Trotter, Hartigan, Pinnock (Wordsworth 68); Hanson (Appiah 79), Pigott (Nightingale 26)
SUBS NOT USED: Purrington, Thomas, Barcham, McDonnell
GOALS: Pigott (2)
BOOKINGS: McDonald (13, 18)
SENT OFF: Rod McDonald (18)
COACH: Neal Ardley
WEST HAM: (4-4-2) Adrian; Zabaleta, Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell; Yarmolenko (Masuaku 90), Rice, Obiang (Felipe Anderson 46), Snodgrass; Hernandez, Lucas Perez (Antonio 81)
SUBS NOT USED: Fabianski, Balbuena, Cullen, Holland
GOALS: Diop (63); Ogbonna (83); Hernandez (90+2)
BOOKINGS: Obiang (11)
COACH: Manuel Pellegrini
REFEREE: Tim Robinson
Manuel Pellegrini’s team went behind to a goal scored by Joe Pigott after only 77 seconds and needed more than an hour to level against opponents from League One who played for most of the game with 10 men.
Pellegrini was forced to scramble £33.5million Brazilian playmaker Felipe Anderson into action at half-time in his desperation to avoid the ignominy of four successive defeats at the very start of his new job.
In the Premier League, the fixture list has not be kind, with games against Liverpool and Arsenal but this was an evening of toil he had not bargained for.
When the equaliser came, it was a screamer, lashed into the top corner from 30 yards by £22m centre-half Issa Diop and the visitors went in search of a winner.
Diop struck the bar with a firm header from a corner and Michail Antonio was sent on before Angelo Ogbonna grabbed the winner with only eight minutes remaining.
Ogbonna tucked in a corner at the back post to send West Ham into the third round of the Carabao Cup and provide relief for the manager.
Pellegrini took the calculated risk of making nine changes and gave some first-teamers a complete rest but his selection hinted at the need to win after starting his tenure with three defeats in the Premier League.
West Ham’s 11 starters cost a total of £75million in transfer fees. They included Diop in central defence and £17.5m winger Andriy Yarmolenko making his full debut for the club.
Issa Diop celebrates his equaliser against Wimbledon in the second half at Kingsmeadow
The French defender got the Hammers back into the tie with a superb long-range effort
They trotted out into the tight confines of the Cherry Red Records Stadium at Kingsmeadow, a pleasant suburban venue with a pristine surface.
This venue already home to Chelsea’s women’s team and their youth teams will follow next season when Wimbledon vacate the premises and return to their spiritual home at Plough Lane.
For West Ham fans on the terraces it may have provided a nostalgic flashback to the days of the Chicken Run at Upton Park but the game was less than two minute old when they had other concerns.
Pigott climbed to meet a corner taken by Mitch Pinnock with a header too powerful for Adrian to keep out.
Joe Pigott heads Wimbledon into the lead from a corner as Adrian is unable to keep the ball out
The Dons striker celebrates at Kingsmeadow as he puts the League One side in front
The visitors offered encouragement to Pigott and James Hanson as they struggled to cope with their aerial threat from early set-pieces.
Wimbledon had the early advantage and the home crowd were roaring them on, but they suffered a serious setback when centre-half Rod McDonald was sent off with less than a quarter of the game gone.
McDonald collected two yellow cards inside five minutes. First for a foul on Robert Snodgrass on halfway and a second for pulling Javier Hernandez by the arm as the Mexican tried to wriggle into the penalty area.
Pigott was sacrificed as Neal Ardley reinforced his back-four, aware they would need to be strong if they were to protect this lead with 10 men.
Ardley took time to console the striker he signed from Maidstone in January, and his replacement Will Nightingale was thrust into the heart of the defensive effort, making a goal line clearance to deny Yarmolenko before half-time.
Rod McDonald sees red after just 18 minutes of action as Javier Hernandez points him out
The Wimbledon players surround referee Tim Robinson after he sent off McDonald
Wimbledon survived until interval when Pellegrini unleashed Anderson.
The home crowd delighted as he missed his target with a cross-field pass and was unable to control a long ball launched in his direction.
They whooped as it rolled out of play but West Ham upped the tempo, moved the ball more quickly across the pitch and sapped the energy of their opponents.
Diop struck in the 63rd minute and then thumped a header against the bar before Ogbonna, his central defensive partner, snatched the crucial second with time running out and the Wombles looking to tidy up.
Hernandez scampered clear for the third in stoppage time. Released by Antonio, he skipped around goalkeeper Tom King and forced the ball over the line from a tight angle to complete West Ham’s first win of the season.
Manager Manuel Pellegrini talks with his coaching staff during the game against Wimbledon