Having achieved three promotions in five years, Terry Brown and Stuart Cash will rightly be remembered as Wimbledon heroes by the club.
Following the departures of Terry and Stuart, the official website today features the defining moments that swept the Dons from the Ryman League to the Football League.
In an interview shortly before his departure today, Terry summed up the best moments of his AFC Wimbledon managerial career since taking over in May, 2007.
Terry said: “Without beating Hornchurch at home in the semi-finals of the Ryman Premier play-offs and Staines Town in the final, there would have been none of the success in reaching the Football League. The Ryman League was a difficult league to get out of and it was one that we struggled to get out of so I look back on those matches as great victories. Effectively sealing promotion at Hampton with Jon Main’s late goal was special and having a drink with our fans in Wimbledon Village during the celebrations is something I remember well. However, nothing will emulate winning the Conference final against Luton as it was unbelievable to take Wimbledon back into the Football League, where they belong. We also had some fantastic times during our first season back in the Football League. Beating Port Vale home and away, along with Gillingham, are the matches that stick in my memory. In particular, Gillingham away was unforgettable coming back from 3-1 down to win 4-3 does not happen very often.”
The managerial pair’s reign started with a 2-0 win in their first competitive match against Ramsgate on 18, August, 2007, thanks to a Sam Hatton double, and the season ended in glorious fashion with the Dons finally sealing promotion from the Ryman League in dramatic circumstances.
There are, perhaps, too many magic moments to mention, but in collaboration with Terry and Stuart, we have come up with the following memorable matches:
AFC Wimbledon 3 AFC Hornchurch 1 (29 April 2008): A double from Jon Main proved to be the difference between the two sides in this Ryman Premier semi-final. All roads then led to Wheatsheaf Park and the final at Staines Town on their own patch.
Staines Town 1 AFC Wimbledon 2 (3 May 2008): Rightly regarded as a pivotal moment in Wimbledon’s history by Dons supporters, who knows what would happened if Mark De Bolla had not struck that superb 84th minute free-kick? The victory provided a platform for the Dons to build on, as Terry pointed out, and it was onwards and upwards after the jubilant celebrations at Staines.
AFC Wimbledon 3 Chelmsford City 1 (31 January 2009): Former players, including our inspirational skipper at the time, Jason Goodliffe, said that winning this match gave his side the belief that the Dons could go all the way and win Conference South. Victory against one of our main rivals was achieved thanks to a Jon Main hat-trick.
Hampton & Richmond 1 AFC Wimbledon 1 (18 April, 2009): An 87th minute header from that man Jon Main effectively sealed the Conference South title and promotion to the non league’s top-flight. In a tense match at the Beveree, the Dons were behind until Main’s dramatic intervention as a late substitute. It left nearest challengers Hampton needing a virtual miracle to stop the Dons in their tracks as they needed a 13-goal swing in the final round of matches. However, the Dons wrapped it up in style with a 3-0 win against St Albans, Goodliffe scoring a rare goal during our promotion party at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.
AFC Wimbledon 1 Luton Town 1 (8 August, 2009): In front of a bumper crowd of 4,488, a late equaliser from Jon Main earned a point from our Conference debut and it showed that the Dons would be a force to be reckoned with after a bold show against the Hatters. In February of the same season, a Danny Kedwell strike earned a 2-1 victory at Kenilworth Road, but, of course, the biggest win against Luton was still to come.
AFC Wimbledon 2 Crawley Town 1 (23 September, 2010): Roared on by a crowd of 4,018 at the Cherry Red Records Stadium, an injury-hit Dons side put Steve Evans and Crawley Town to the sword. That man Danny Kedwell, the subject of a bid from the Sussex outfit just a few weeks earlier, rubbed salt in Crawley wounds with the winner.
Mansfield Town 2 AFC Wimbledon 5 (5 October, 2010): A game which had absolutely everything, the all-action encounter starting with a goal after just 11 seconds from Sammy Moore. Christian Jolley, Danny Kedwell, Ryan Jackson and another Sammy Moore strike made it five.
Ebbsfleet United 2 AFC Wimbledon 3 (18 November, 2010): In-form Sammy Moore continued his hot streak with a winner in the very last minute of extra-time to seal a spot in the second round of the FA Cup. It was all live in front of the Setanta TV cameras, but the victory was even more memorable for all those visiting Dons supporters who made the trip to Stonebridge Road.
AFC Wimbledon 6 Fleetwood Town 1 (11 May, 2011): The Dons sealed a Conference play-off final spot in emphatic fashion with a Kaid Mohamed hat-trick, along with goals from Danny Kedwell, Christian Jolley and James Mulley. The Cod Army took a real battering that night and it set the Dons up nicely for that date with destiny at Manchester.
AFC Wimbledon 0 Luton Town 0 (Wimbledon won 4-3 on penalties, 21 May, 2011): We all know the story of the glory up in Manchester and play-off final success. Leading the Dons back into the Football League will be the achievement that Terry Brown will always be remembered for. Danny Kedwell struck THAT penalty and WDON commentator Rob Cornell delivered the words we had all been waiting for: “They’ve done it, we’re in League 2”.
Dagenham & Redbridge 0 AFC Wimbledon 2 (15 August, 2011): Our first win back in the Football League was achieved thanks to goals from Rashid Yussuff and Luke Moore. It provided the platform for better things as the Dons accrued the early season points that would prove so valuable in the final reckoning.
AFC Wimbledon 4 Cheltenham Town 1 (17 September, 2011): A personal favourite of Terry Brown’s as it was a particularly sweet victory against a club he had Conference promotion battles with during his days at Hayes. On top of that, it was an excellent performance as the Dons scored four past Jack Butland, who has since gone onto be an England international goalkeeper. One of our promotion heroes Kaid Mohamed was given a generous reception on his return with Cheltenham.
Morecambe 1 AFC Wimbledon 2 (8 October, 2011): A late Christian Jolley winner marched the Dons up to third in League 2 and had our supporters dreaming of launching another promotion bid.
Port Vale 1 AFC Wimbledon 2 (14 January, 2012): Luke Moore struck the winner to finally ended a testing sequence of 12 league matches without a win. New boys Billy Knott, George Moncur, Byron Harrison and Jason Euell breathed new life into the Dons.
Gillingham 3 AFC Wimbledon 4 (21 January, 2012): Terry Brown admitted this provided the highlight of our time back in the Football League and it’s hard to argue. The Dons looked down and out at 3-1 as they were 3-1 behind just after the hour mark, but a Gary Richards own goal and a Jack Midson double left over 1,000 travelling Wimbledon supporters in ecstacy.
AFC Wimbledon 3 Shrewsbury 1 (5 May, 2012): Hardly a dramatic victory, but a Luke Moore double helped end a testing season on a high against a side already promoted. It also marked the end of an era in a lot of ways as several promotion favourites from the previous campaign played their last game for the club, including Jamie Stuart, Brett Johnson and Fraser Franks.
Do you have any messages for Terry and Stuart? The official website is offering supporters a platform to share your appreciation for all that they did for AFC Wimbledon. We will then print a selection on the website in the near future. Please e-mail your offerings by clicking on messages for Terry and Stuart, including your name, age and address.