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Heartbreakers: MK Dons Take First Derby Win over AFC Wimbledon

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Heartbreakers: MK Dons Take First Derby Win over AFC Wimbledon
Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Gut-punches.

That will be the term those in the blue and yellow of AFC Wimbledon will most use to describe the goals scored by Stephen Gleeson and Jon Ostembor.

MK Dons fans will simply remember them as the shots that beat back those who would not adapt to the future laid out before them.

The match at Stadium mk between the Dons and the Dons had been feared to occur last term as the two sides were lined up in the second round draw of the F.A. Cup

Only Wimbledon’s loss in a reply prevented it from happening last season, but a replay win this term pitted the two together at last, not to mention started a media circus that enveloped the clubs for weeks.

Those unfamiliar with the story will not understand the anguish and indemnity that League 2 outfit Wimbledon feel towards League 1 side MK Dons.

The closest comparison might be the midnight exit of the Baltimore Colts to Indianapolis and the resulting furor that the new Baltimore team, the Ravens, exhibit towards their former entity.

What is no longer in doubt is that the new Dons now have a small bit of bragging rights to hold over their phoenix club counterparts after goals near the end of both halves saw the Milton Keynes outfit advance to the third round of the F.A. Cup.

While the fans were in raucous and rancorous tones, the play on the field was relatively subdued.

Wimbledon, a point above the League 2 relegation zone, was content to let the hosts play in front and to the sides while keeping the middle congested.

The plan limited MK Dons to few chances for the first 44 minutes of play, until Gleeson hit a 30-yard rocket that broke the deadlock.

The goal changed the complexion of the match as Wimbledon were forced to go on the offensive to level the tie.

After some initial offensive movements, Wimbledon struck with a well-played one-two that saw Jack Midson bury a header past David Martin.

Cue the rapturous response and mini pitch invasion by the blue and yellow faithful.

After play was restored, the match entered the same sort of lull that was prevalent in the first half, with the only move of note by MK Dons erased by an offside call.

In the dying moments, Wimbledon nearly snatched a victory after Steven Gregory stole the ball off the MK Don defense, and only Martin’s outstretched right hand denied the Dons a moment of delirium.

It proved to be critical because of Ostembor’s winner.

A corner two minutes after the Gregory chance was barely cleared by the Wimbledon defense. The return shot of Zeli Ismail was back heeled by Ostembor over the despairing lunge of Neil Sullivan.

Cue the rapturous response and mini pitch invasion by the white, red and black supporters.

With so little time left, Wimbledon had no real chance to reply aside from a few desperate heaves at goal, and so it went that MK Dons won the first ever meeting between the sides.

It is a bitter blow to those who made the trip from Wimbledon as, perhaps more than anything else, the fans wanted the new Wimbledon to strike a blow for those who were faithful to the city and history of the club.

The club can take solace in the fact that they made life difficult for a side nearly 40 places above them in the Football League hierarchy and need to use this momentum to move away from danger near the foot of League 2.

MK Dons fans, while not as emotionally invested in the fixture as the Wimbledon faithful, will no doubt enjoy the rights that come from being the sole victors in the history between the two clubs.

It will live long in the memory but short in the present as the squad, sitting three points out of the automatic promotion spots in League 1, must press on towards the Championship.

For some fans, the match represents some form of closure over what was a schism that altered the lives of thousands.

Some will grit their teeth and march on, feeling they are still the victors in what will be a contentious debate for years and years.

Other will simply enjoy the day out and remember when they were there to watch the old and new Dons collide for the first time.

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