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Wembley proves wonderful venue again for Wimbledon


Adebayo Akinfenwa Photo: PA

Adebayo Akinfenwa Photo: PA


Adebayo Akinfenwa Photo: PA

Lyle Taylor and Adebayo Akinfenwa fired AFC Wimbledon into League One as Wembley hosted the mother of all 14th birthday parties.

Top scorer Taylor struck with 12 minutes remaining and cult hero Akinfenwa tucked in a stoppage-time penalty to sink Plymouth 2-0 in the play-off final. At the scene of the old Wimbledon's greatest triumph, their 1988 FA Cup win over Liverpool, the Dons defied the odds once more to continue their fairytale rise up the football pyramid.

They have now been promoted six times since the current club was formed by supporters, following a meeting in the Fox and Grapes pub in Wimbledon, 14 years ago to the day.

The Dons have come a long way since holding open trials on Wimbledon Common that summer.

So much so, they now find themselves in the same division as the club the fans still refuse to acknowledge, Milton Keynes Dons, created when the old Wimbledon was so controversially relocated.

With 1988 heroes Lawrie Sanchez and Dave Beasant watching from the stands, AFC Wimbledon thoroughly deserved their victory while Plymouth, playing in front of an impressive 30,000-strong Green Army, seemed overawed by the occasion. Top scorer Taylor turned home Callum Kennedy's inswinging cross to put the Dons on course for Sky Bet League One before Akinfenwa wrestled the ball from designated penalty-taker Kennedy to send Luke McCormick the wrong way from the spot at the death after substitute Adebayo Azeez was tripped in the area by Jordon Forster.

Akinfenwa, who was told before the match that his Wimbledon contract would not be renewed for next season, said: "I think I'm technically unemployed so any managers, hit me up on the Whatsapp and get me a job."