AFC Wimbledon won promotion to the Football League on Saturday after beating Luton Town in the Conference play-off final. Wimbledon won 4-3 on penalties after 120 goalless minutes at Eastlands, sending them into League Two.
The club was established in 2002 in protest against the FA's sanctioning of the original Wimbledon's move to Milton Keynes, and manager Terry Brown described it as a "phenomenal achievement". The winning penalty was scored by Wimbledon's top scorer Danny Kedwell, after Seb Brown had saved from Luton's Alex Lawless and Jason Walker. The match itself was lively and even; Kedwell earlier had a goal disallowed for offside.
Winning the shoot-out earned Wimbledon their fifth promotion in nine seasons. They started life in 2002 in the Combined Counties League, and went through the Isthmian First Division and Premier Division before reaching the Conference South in 2008, which they won at their first attempt. This was their second season in the Blue Square Premier. They finished second and beat Fleetwood Town in the play-off semi-final.
"It's a phenomenal achievement to do it in nine years," said Brown afterwards. "A club could possibly do it quicker with finance – but we have had no finance, just fan power. I can't make any decisions without going through the directors and the trust. They keep driving this club, which has always punched above its weight.
"We have never tried to emulate the Crazy Gang, but there is such a driving force at the club."
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- AFC Wimbledon
- Conference National (football Conference)
- Luton Town (football)
- Milton Keynes