Magical Midson’s the hero as Dons survive
WIMBLEDON ..2 FLEETWOOD ..1 DONS’ GREAT ESCAPE
IT WAS the ice-veins of a Wimbledon idol from the penalty spot that took the club into the Football League two years ago at the City of Manchester Stadium.
So how fitting then that a pressure kick from 12 yards from his replacement Jack Midson kept the club there.
Danny Kedwell back in 2011 wrote himself into the history books in the Blue Square Bet promotion final against Luton to right a football wrong.
It only took nine years, they sing. It only took nine months, and these ugly 90 minutes, to nearly undo it all.
Having thrown away Gary Alexander's opener, the Dons were heading back to NonLeague after a lack of focus let Andy Mangan nod Fleetwood level via a home defender.
A point not enough, it sucked the wind out of Wimbledon sails.
But they got a big break, right-back Curtis Osano tumbling under the challenge of Rob Atkinson for the fans’ favourite’s moment.
Two years ago it was step forward King Kedwell. This time, Marvellous Midson. A £500,000 kick dispatched.
Those watching on waiting for Wimbledon to sink were to be disappointed. The old dogs still have life left in them yet, their story another chapter to be written.
Midson said:“Clearly it was a big kick – financially to the club and for the players too. We’re not the highest paid in League Two but I knew I had to take it and I had to score it.
“Everyone remembers Danny’s winning penalty and this was a great feeling. The fans sing a song about us both, I’d like to think this one could mean as much.
“Wimbledon have worked so hard to get into the Football League and to drop out would have been devastating. It was written in the script for us to stay up.”
Wimbledon will never do things the easy way. Seemingly safe a month ago, only a win would have done here and they were doing their best to blow it. Midson in the first half headed against the bar and Alexander on another day could have had the game won.
When Midson again hit the woodwork in the opening stages of the second half, ‘one of those days’ fears grew.
Alexander had other ideas, nodding in Luke Moore’s free-kick with trademark power to lift the roof with just over an hour gone.
Soon, Mangan was unchecked, he headed goalwards and a touch from a blue shirt saw the ball creep in three minutes later. Wimbledon were down unless they found a goal.
Neal Ardley’s side had to react, and when scampering Osano was upended they got the biggest of breaks with 18 minutes to go.
Cod Army manager Graham Alexander said: “I don’t think the referee needed much encouragement to give that penalty. He was blowing up every few minutes, I thought the crowd influenced a few decisions.”