In the 24th part of his series, Stephen Crabtree, who is the Editor of the Historical Dons, looks back at a spirited fightback in Kent that ultimately proved crucial to the club’s league survival.
Saturday 20th April 2013: League 2
Gillingham (2) 2 Burton 12, Kedwell 23
AFC Wimbledon (0) 2 Midson 65, Meades 82
Two down at the break and seemingly heading out of the Football League, Neal Ardley’s men rallied brilliantly to win a point at champions Gillingham and leave their future in their own hands. At first it appeared too easy for the hosts who took the lead when veteran striker Deon Burton found the net with a shot from deep inside the penalty box. The Gills then doubled their lead when former Don Danny Kedwell deftly headed in a left-wing cross from future Don Chris Whelpdale.
Myles Weston then hit the bar before the visitors rallied. Jack Midson halved the deficit when he scored from close range midway through the second-half and there were just eight minutes remaining when Jon Meades levelled following a cut-back from that man Midson. The Dons almost won all three points when Gary Alexander’s shot cannoned back off a post but the draw meant the Dons were still alive going into the last round of matches.
With two going down, the draw left Wimbledon second last but with fellow strugglers Dagenham & Redbridge and York facing each other, the Dons were guaranteed to leapfrog one side if they beat Fleetwood at home on the following Saturday. “If we can play like that next week then we will be okay,” Neal Ardley said. “We have got to focus on ourselves and if we win we stay up, we have to keep going and do what we are good at."
AFC Wimbledon: Sullivan, Balkestein, Mitchell-King (Osano 60), Meades, A Bennett, Hussey, S Moore (Alexander 79), Pell, Midson, L Moore, Prior (Strutton 60).