Wimbledon get their way at Wombly as Hollywood script gets feelgood ending

It was the Hollywood story with the perfect ending as AFC Wimbledon – back at Wembley nearly three decades on from their FA Cup triumph – secured League Two promotion with a 2-0 victory over Plymouth Argyle.

Top goal scorer Lyle Taylor was again their hero on the day, with a glancing finish off the inside of his right foot to send the Dons’ fans into raptures.

As time ticked on commercial director Ivor Heller, one of the key architects in the rebirth of this club, could be seen clutching his yellow and blue scarf to his face, not daring to look at what was unfolding beneath him.

But before their name was etched onto the League Two play-off trophy there was still time for a possible parting gift from Adebayo ‘The Beast’ Akinfenwa – who netted a spot kick to seal the win.

Tears and joyous celebrations began as soon as the whistle was blown with a beaming Taylor taken aback by what the club have achieved.

“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “For me it’s the first time here and to have 20,000-plus fans here from us is absolutely brilliant.

“It’s history and this only happens for the first time once so to be a part of that is just unbelievable.”

It could be his last involvement with the club but a jubilant Akinfenwa, sporting his trademark ‘Beast Mode’ shirt sprawled across his chest, couldn’t think of a better way to leave.

“It’s what dreams are made of,” said the big striker, who urged other managers to ‘hit him up on WhatsApp’ as he commences a search for a new club.

“Coming onto Wembley scoring and winning is a beautiful feeling. We were the underdogs so not only can Leicester City do it but AFC Wimbledon can do it.

“There’s no better way to leave this club than to leave them promoted.”

Both games in the league campaign offered cagey affairs and the opening stages suggested a similar outcome.

Of course this match offered much more importance than just three points with League One football up for grabs and a potential clash with arch-rivals MK Dons for Wimbledon.

And, other than a long range effort from Callum Kennedy midway through the first half, neither goalkeeper had much to do.

Tension was building on the pitch as neither side wanted to slip up but in the stands the atmosphere began to heat up in the second half.

Wimbledon were outnumbered by 10,000 fans but what they lacked in numbers they sure made up in spirit and that undoubtedly spread onto the pitch as their players went on the assault.

And, on 78 minutes, they got their rewards when Taylor latched onto a teasing low cross from Kennedy at the near post that trickled past Luke McCormick.

It took the wind out of the Plymouth players’ sails but, in the final ten minutes, they pushed bodies forward in search of an equaliser.

They left gaps at the back in the process and the Wimbledon players, riding on the coat tails of their fans’ festivities, took full advantage.

Substitute Ade Azeez tricked his way into the box before Jordon Forster brought him down with a tired challenge deep into stoppage time.

There wasn’t any one though who was going to wrestle the ball off Akinfenwa to take the spot kick and the big man sent McCormick the wrong way to cue bedlam among the yellow and blue fans.

As a club that rose from the ashes, thanks to a fan consortium, it was clear the day was for them and manager Neal Ardley was delighted to reward their faith.

“The occasion for our fans was good enough in the first place from where we came from,” he said.

“The boys came out and I had a feeling we had too much experience and these boys were going to deliver.

“It’s an emotional experience and to win a game at Wembley is wonderful but the fans deserve it.

“They had their club taken away from them 14 years ago and now look at them.”

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