Tag Archives: wimbledon

Football League postponements due to weather

Football League programme hit after heavy rain sweeps country

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UPDATED:

13:26 GMT, 22 December 2012

Blackburn's npower Championship fixture against Brighton was the first match of the day in English football's second tier to be called off as wet weather disrupted today's sporting programme.

The heavy rainfall affecting much of the country forced the cancellation of the Ewood Park clash due to a waterlogged pitch.

A post on Blackburn's official Twitter feed read: 'Today's match against Brighton has been called off due to a waterlogged pitch. A new date will be arranged in due course.'

Off: York's match against Gillingham has been postponed

Off: York's match against Gillingham has been postponed

Football matches off

Championship

Blackburn v Brighton

npower League 1

Hartlepool v Portsmouth
Brentford v Stevenage
Scunthorpe v Carlisle
Crewe v Bournemouth
Doncaster v Milton Keynes Dons

npower League 2

York v Gillingham
Wycombe v Bradford
Torquay v Exeter
Oxford Utd v Fleetwood Town
Bristol Rovers v Rotherham
Morecambe v Dag & Red
Port Vale v AFC Wimbledon

Blue Square Bet Premier

Gateshead v Stockport
Newport County v Braintree
Alfreton v Barrow
Cambridge Utd v Nuneaton
AFC Telford v Luton
Woking v Forest Green
Tamworth v Newport
Macclesfield v Lincoln City

The Irn-Bru Scottish Second Division

Brechin v Ayr

A further statement on the Blackburn
website said: 'Referee Robert Madley made a pitch inspection at 12.15pm
and with player safety paramount, deemed the pitch unplayable due to the
heavy rain experienced in Lancashire over the last few days.'

The lower league fixture list was
decimated by the sodden conditions, with the League One meetings between
Doncaster and MK Dons and Crewe and Bournemouth the latest games to
fall by the wayside.

Brentford, second in League One, were
denied the chance to go top of the table for Christmas when their clash
with Stevenage at Griffin Park was called off.

Crewe had held a second pitch
inspection at 12.15pm, an hour after the surface was first assessed, but
were left with no option but to call the match off, while coaches
carrying the Cherries fans had already been advised to stop on their way
north before a decision was made.

That left just five games set to take place in the third tier, at Coventry, Crawley, Notts County, Walsall and Yeovil.

In League Two only the games at
Northampton and Accrington were set to go ahead, although the former
were set to hold another pitch inspection before making a final
decision.

A statement on York's official
website read: 'After a pitch inspection was conducted this morning by
match referee Stephen Martin, today's match between the Minstermen and
Gillingham has been postponed.

'After heavy rain overnight, the pitch is now waterlogged and deemed unplayable by the match official.

No play: Keep of the pitch sign in place at the Memorial Stadium after Bristol Rovers game with Rotherham was called off

No play: Keep of the pitch sign in place at the Memorial Stadium after Bristol Rovers game with Rotherham was called off

'A new rearranged date for the fixture will be announced later.'

Northampton confirmed their game would go ahead after an inspection by referee Tim Robinson at 12.30pm.

In the conference Kidderminster's game with Dartford was the only fixture to survive the weather, while in Scotland the Irn-Bru SFL Second Division match between Brechin and Ayr was postponed yesterday.

Racing was also affected, with this afternoon's meeting at Navan cancelled because of a waterlogged track.

Officials at the County Meath circuit were left with no other option following an early-morning course inspection.

The day's Aviva Premiership rugby fixtures were set to go ahead as planned although Wasps, who host Sale tomorrow, advised fans to check the club website in the morning for information on whether that match will take place.

A post on Wasps' official Twitter account read: 'Tomorrow's game at the moment is still on! Any final decision would be made in the morning so make sure you check the website first thing.'

Andy Murray is not mean enough on the court, says coach Ivan Lendl

'Murray needs to get mean': Lendl says his protege is too nice on the tennis court

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UPDATED:

17:49 GMT, 20 December 2012

Andy Murray’s coach Ivan Lendl has revealed the British No 1 can be too nice on court and needs to get meaner in training in order to keep improving.

In his first year as Murray’s coach Lendl has helped guide the Scot to his first major at the US Open, a Wimbledon final and even an Olympic gold at Centre Court.

But speaking to the Times newspaper, the 52-year-old revealed Murray has to get tougher to get better.

Enlarge

Andy Murray won the Olympics in 2012

Murray had his finest year in 2012, winning his first Slam and an Olympic gold medal

‘I think Andy is too nice sometimes,’
Lendl said. ‘You can only play the way you practice — there’s not way
you’re going to play differently than the way you practice. At least I
don’t see it.’

After watching Murray complete a
training match against fellow Scot Jamie Baker, Lendl added: ‘Andy knew
what I wanted (during a particular rally). I wanted it buried, either in
the corner or in the guy’s nuts, but bury it somewhere.’

This time last year, Lendl was
considering taking on Murray as his next coaching project after the
British No 1 had parted with ways with Alex Corretja earlier in the
year.

When the pair met, and a mutual commitment to winning was established, it quickly became a match made in heaven.

Andy Murray was beaten by Roger Federer in the 2012 Wimbledon final

But the year hasn't all been plain sailing – the Scot was devastated when Roger Federer bested him in the Wimbledon final

Lendl said: ‘Part of our discussions
with Andy (before becoming his coach) was me getting to know him a
little bit and see if he is as committed as I would be if I did it. The
answer was yes.’

Lendl also revealed the level of
scrutiny that Murray’s physical performance is under, and how minor
tweaks can have the most profound effect on on-court performance.

‘I went to Jez (Green, Murray’s
physical trainer) in Australia in January this year and said where I saw
weaknesses in his conditioning, whether it was movement, turning around
to one side or the other side. Jez then showed me some new exercises
and by Wimbledon he was better.

‘I understand, for Andy to do better,
he needs to be fit, he needs to be quick and he needs to be uninjured,
and they understand that, in order for him to do well, he needs to play a
lot of tennis in certain situations.’

Andy Murray won the US Open in 2012

Murray was thrilled with his US Open title, but Lendl says he will have to get meaner if he wants to win another

Andy Murray won gold at the 2012 Olympics

His next opportunity for Grand Slam success will be in Australia, but he will be up against defending champion Novak Djokovic

With the Australian Open on the horizon, Murray will be resting his body over the Christmas period.

The first Grand Slam of the year has bowed to player pressure and increased prize money for early losers at the season’s opening grand slam.

Tennis Australia announced in October the tournament would have a record purse and today confirmed the major beneficiaries would be players who lose in the opening rounds having incurred the sizeable costs of travelling Down Under.

The title favourites are also set to benefit with both the men’s and women’s champion receiving 2.43million Australian dollars – the biggest prize in the history of the sport.

'Our motivation is to make a major contribution toward helping ensure professional tennis players can make a decent living,' said Australian Open tournament director Craig Tiley.

'To just reach the main draw of a slam, a professional tennis player has to be among the top 100 in what is one of, if not the most, competitive professional sport in the world.

'We will not be stopping here,' he added. 'There will be more talks and more increases during the next four years. This is just a very positive first step.'

The Australian Open starts on January 14 with Novak Djokovic and Victoria Azarenka in line to defend their titles.

LTA chief Roger Draper under attack for "outrageous" 640k salary

Fury at Draper's 640k as LTA chief comes under fire over 'outrageous' salary

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 19 December 2012

The 640,000 salary package of Lawn Tennis Association chief executive Roger Draper has been branded 'outrageous' by the chair of Parliament's All Party Tennis Group.

Labour's Baroness Billingham has attacked his pay, especially the decision to award a 201,000 bonus, revealed in Sports Agenda, when grassroots participation in the sport has actually fallen in the past four years.

Earlier this week Sport England effectively put the LTA on probation for a year over future funding awards, and described their plan to improve numbers playing the game as 'simply not strong enough'.

Net gains: Draper has come under fire after receiving 640,000 for one year

Net gains: Draper has come under fire after receiving 640,000 for one year

That prompted Baroness Billingham to say: 'This is the second straight year that they have criticised the LTA and in light of that it is outrageous that he is paid more than four times more than the Prime Minister. It's not right to get a large bonus in that situation.

'Think of all the children in primary schools who could be getting to know tennis if that sort of money was available. I stand by what I said in the Lord's, which is that the LTA are useless.'

Official participation figures are down from 487,500 to 441,500 since 2008 despite huge profits pumped in from Wimbledon.

Laura Robson

Andy Murray

Golden moment: Laura Robson and Andy Murray have enjoyed successful years

The LTA, who declined to respond to her specific comments, pointed out that many sports are struggling with recreational numbers and that in the past year tennis has seen an improvement in that area.

There has also been high-profile success through Andy Murray, Laura Robson, Heather Watson and Jonny Marray.

No 2: But Baker is ranked over 240 places below Murray

No 2: But Baker is ranked over 240 places below Murray

Yet British men's No 2 Jamie Baker is ranked 246 and the Baroness is not alone in wondering whether the LTA's annual 15.3 million staffing costs and 17 million spent on participation could have been better utilised.

So far the LTA's main board has taken a very benign view of their chief executive, who has been in charge since 2006. But that could change next year when a new independent chairman, David Gregson, takes up his post.

London 2012 Olympics ticket farce exposed

Just ONE ticket made available to paying public as Team GB stars win silver during Olympics

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UPDATED:

17:37 GMT, 19 December 2012

The full extent of the ticketing farce at the London Olympics has been exposed by the publication of a full review of the ticketing programme.

The dense 976-page document highlights the gross number of tickets available to the 'Olympic family' compared to the relatively few available to the paying public for the most popular events and sessions.

Extraordinarily, there was a sailing finals day on August 9 – the day Luke Patience and Stuart Bithell won silver in the men's 470 – where 851 tickets went to sponsors and only one single ticket was available to the public.

Farce: Despite demand for tickets there were empty seats at the Olympic Games

Farce: Despite demand for tickets there were empty seats at the Olympic Games

Furthermore, for Danny Boyle's iconic opening ceremony – one of the most in-demand tickets of the fortnight – only 44 per cent of the tickets were available to the public while 66 per cent went to the Olympic family.

On the day in the velodrome when Sir Chris Hoy, Jason Kenny, Phillip Hindes won the men's sprint final, only 43 per cent of tickets were available to the public.

During Novak Djokovic's opening Olympic match on Centre Court at Wimbledon, 97 per cent of the available seats on court were given to the Olympic family.

Empty seats were one of the few negatives of a successful Olympics, with atmospheres at too many venues dented by swathes of empty seats allocated by the IOC but not taken up by sponsors.

New balls: Ninety-seven per cent of seats during Djokovic's match were given to the Olympic family

New balls: Ninety-seven per cent of seats during Djokovic's match were given to the Olympic family

In total 10.99 million tickets were sold out of a total 11.3 million tickets available. 8.21 million of these tickets were Olympic Games tickets and 2.78 million were Paralympic tickets.

A total of 659 million was raised for LOCOG's operating budget to stage the Games. 319,000 tickets (263,000 Olympic and 55,000 Paralympic) were unsold, the majority of these being early rounds for Olympic Football.

76.3 per cent of all Olympic and 91 per cent of all Paralympic tickets were sold through the UK application process against a target of 75 per cent. This amounted to an unprecedented 8.8 million tickets sold.

Adel Taarabt goal was excellent, but Matthew Le Tissier scored goals like that regularly

Why the fuss over Taarabt Le Tissier performed magic like that week in, week out for Saints

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UPDATED:

16:19 GMT, 17 December 2012

There is a lot about Adel Taarabt which brings back memories of the heyday of Matt Le Tissier.

He's languid, a touch lazy, and must be incredibly frustrating for teammates to play with – that is until he produces moments of audacious genius such as his finish on Saturday.

It began with a burst of energy as he brought the ball under control, a sublime dummy and then that instinctive perfectly placed finish.

Scroll down for video…

Magic moment: Taarabt scored a stunner for QPR in their first win of the season

Magic moment: Taarabt scored a stunner for QPR in their first win of the season

*Click here to watch Taarabt's stunning goal against Fulham

Yes, it was all very Le Tissier. But to
truly bare comparisons to the South Coast legend Taarabt is going to
have to repeat his wonder goal time and again for a series of seasons.

For that is what Le Tiss did – practically single-handedly keeping Saints in the top flight for a decade – and he dominated the goal of the season charts, particularly in 1993 and 1994.

I can’t hear the song Life of Riley by the Lightening Seeds (which was Match of the Day's goal of the month music in the mid-nineties) without remembering Le Tiss's flick up and volley from a free kick against Wimbledon, the loop over two players heads and then a delicate finish against Newcastle, a swerving strike against Forest, and, my favourite, the 35 yard belter against Blackburn.

And there were many more, most notably a volley against Arsenal in the final game at The Dell.

On top of that he had a remarkable record from the penalty spot – only failing to score once in 48 attempts.

Master: Le Tissier regularly scored cracking goals for Southampton

Master: Le Tissier regularly scored cracking goals for Southampton

He seemed to have a hand in almost every goal Saints scored. There were times his talent drove fans to despair. For someone who could see and supply passes only a handful of others could match, he hung on to the ball for an eternity.

Some would call his never-ending flicks, tricks and dummies mesmerising, others would sigh at why he didn’t just play the simple pass.

When his inspiration went missing and Saints fell behind, his sloth-like demeanour was frustrating.

But Le Tissier scored 210 goals for Southampton – all of them in the top flight, and for a club which rarely finished in the upper half of the table.
Only when Taarabt can match this, will his talents ever truly match the man Saints fans call Le God.

VIDEO: Le Tiss stars in Goal of the Season competition

Wally Downes West Ham departure was Sam Allardyce decision

I decided Downes departure, says Allardyce after promoting Hendon

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UPDATED:

11:41 GMT, 14 December 2012

Sam Allardyce has confirmed he decided Wally Downes should leave West Ham.

The 51-year-old first team coach parted ways with the club earlier this week and is currently agreeing severance terms.

Ian Hendon, West Ham's under-21s coach, will step up to replace Downes, and his position will be filled by Nick Hancock, head of the under-18s, until the end of the season.

Happy Hammers: Downes (right) celebrates Modibo Maiga's winning goal against Chelsea with assistant boss Neil McDonald (left) and Sam Allardyce (second right)

Happy Hammers: Downes (right) celebrates Modibo Maiga's winning goal against Chelsea with assistant boss Neil McDonald (left) and Sam Allardyce (second right)

Allardyce's relationship with Downes
appeared strong as the two celebrated ecstatically during the 3-1 win
over Chelsea earlier this month.

But the West Ham manager said: 'I can confirm he has left. /12/14/article-0-166E9EDF000005DC-410_468x349.jpg” width=”468″ height=”349″ alt=”Change of plans: Sam Allardyce has promoted from within to fill the void left by Downes with Ian Hendon joining the first team coaching staff” class=”blkBorder” />

Change of plans: Sam Allardyce has promoted from within to fill the void left by Downes with Ian Hendon joining the first team coaching staff

Allardyce inherited defensive coach Downes from former boss Avram Grant after he
was installed as manager by co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan at
the start of last season.

Downes, a midfielder, played more than
200 times for Wimbledon and was credited with being a key part of the
club’s Crazy Gang spirit. He
later managed Brentford.

Wally Downes leaves West Ham

Downes leaves post as West Ham first team coach with immediate effect

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UPDATED:

19:19 GMT, 11 December 2012

Wally Downes has left his position as first team coach at West Ham with immediate effect.

The 51-year-old, who joined the club in 2010 as defensive coach, was appointed in the role after Sam Allardyce replaced Avram Grant following relegation to the npower Championship in 2011.

Happy Hammers: Downes (right) celebrates Modibo Maiga's winning goal against Chelsea with assistant boss Neil McDonald (left) and Sam Allardyce (second right)

Happy Hammers: Downes (right) celebrates Modibo Maiga's winning goal against Chelsea with assistant boss Neil McDonald (left) and Sam Allardyce (second right)

Allardyce is understood to rate Downes
highly and spoke publicly of his regret at not appointing him as No 2
at Ewood Park during his his stint as Blackburn boss.

A
founding member of Wimbledon's Crazy Gang, after his career ended in
1988, Downes has backroom experience at Crystal Palace, Brentford –
whom he managed between 2002 and 2004 – Reading and Southampton.

On the move: Wally Downes has left West Ham after two years at the club

On the move: Downes has left West Ham after two years at the club

Andy Murray turns football pundit on FIFA website

Match point of the day! Andy Murray turns football pundit

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UPDATED:

10:56 GMT, 7 December 2012

Andy Murray, US Open champion and Olympic tennis gold medallist, is interrupting his pre-season training in Miami to become a football pundit for the day.

FIFA have persuaded Murray to take over their Twitter feed @FIFA.com at 4.30pm on December 11 to take questions from fans about his passion for football.

Ask Andy: FIFA posted this image of Andy Murray on their twitter account to preview the webchat

Ask Andy: FIFA posted this image of Andy Murray on their twitter account to preview the webchat

According to FIFA, Murray supports Hibernian as well as Barcelona and Arsenal and is also a fantasy football enthusiast.

Murray’s most controversial views on football came at the 2006 Wimbledon Championship during the World Cup when he was asked who he would be supporting during the tournament. He infamously replied: 'Anyone who England are playing.'

Scotsman Murray insisted his comments had been taken out of context and had only been part of his friendly banter with Tim Henman.

Down and out: Andy Murray reflects on his loss to Switzerland's Roger Federer during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena

Down and out: Andy Murray reflects on his loss to Switzerland's Roger Federer during the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena

The idea for Murray to talk about football came following discussions between FIFA and the world No 3’s management team XIX, who are keen for him to branch out from just talking about tennis.

Football and boxing are Murray’s other two favourite sports.

Twitter uses have to tweet their question to @FIFA.com and must include the hashtag #AskAndy by 4pm on December 9.

Hod rod: Murray played a friendly match against Andy Roddick at the Miami Tennis Cup earlier this month, as he begins preparations for the Australian Open

Hod rod: Murray played a friendly match against Andy Roddick at the Miami Tennis Cup earlier this month, as he begins preparations for the Australian Open

Meanwhile, Heather Watson has banned herself from playing football before the Australian Open next month after the British No 1 sprained her ankle in a kick-about this time last year and had to pull out of the warm-up events.

Rafael Nadal admits he may miss Australian Open 2013

Nadal admits he may miss Australian Open as world No 4 refuses to rush injury return

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UPDATED:

12:19 GMT, 4 December 2012

Rafael Nadal has dismissed his chances of making a winning comeback to grand slam tennis at the Australian Open after targeting a return to full fitness by April.

The world No 4 has not played competitively since his shock second-round loss to Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon in June due to a partial tear of the patella tendon in his left knee, but has recently returned to the practice court.

He intends to compete at the Mubadala Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi later this month and then play at the season's first major in Melbourne in January.

Missing man: Injured Rafael Nadal admits he remains unlikely to play at the Australian Open in January

Missing man: Injured Rafael Nadal admits he remains unlikely to play at the Australian Open in January

The 11-time grand slam winner does not believe he will be a realistic title contender for the first few months of the season, but is hoping to be back to his best for the Monte Carlo Masters which gets under way on April 14.

Nadal told Spanish radio station Onda Cero: 'I want to be 100 per cent in Monte Carlo and then prepare well for Roland Garros.

'I will hopefully be ready for Australia but I am only looking at tomorrow and continuing my recovery.

'I have the goal of returning in Abu Dhabi but neither Abu Dhabi nor Australia are the end of the world for me.

'I will only come back when I am fit. I won't come back worrying about my knee.'

Last time out: Nadal last played at Wimbledon where he suffered a shock exit to Lukas Rosol

Last time out: Nadal last played at Wimbledon where he suffered a shock exit to Lukas Rosol

Alex Kay Talks Tennis

He added: 'Miracles do not exist and I am unlikely to return and compete for the Australian Open.

'The results will not worry me in the first tournaments back.

'My recovery is going well. This past month I have taken an important step. I feel happy and the doctors are too.

'We are in the last stage of the recovery and I want to recover as soon as possible but I will not rush back and then have to stop again in six months or a year's time.'

MK Dons 1 AFC Wimbledon 1: match report

MK Dons 2 AFC Wimbledon 1: Ecstasy to agony for travelling fans as cheeky late winner ends dream grudge match victory

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UPDATED:

15:17 GMT, 2 December 2012

Jon Otsemobor scored a last-gasp winner to send MK Dons into the FA Cup third round at the expense of bitter rivals AFC Wimbledon.

Jack Midson's diving header had looked set to earn Wimbledon a replay after cancelling out Stephen Gleeson's stunning opener, but Otsemobor flicked home in the last minute to break the visitors' hearts.

The match was the first between the two clubs since 1988 FA Cup winners Wimbledon FC were uprooted from south west London in 2003 and moved over 50 miles north of the capital to the Buckinghamshire town, before being renamed MK Dons the following year.

Stranded: Jon Otsemobor flicked home the winner for MK Dons in the dying minutes

Stranded: Jon Otsemobor flicked home the winner for MK Dons in the dying minutes

Match facts

Milton Keynes Dons: Martin, Otsemobor, Kay, Williams, Lewington, Gleeson, Potter, Bowditch, Chadwick, Balanta (Ismail 66), Lowe (Smith 80).

Subs not used: McLoughlin, Doumbe, MacDonald, Chicksen, Sekajja.

Goal: Midson 59, Otsemobor 90

AFC Wimbledon: Sullivan, Osano, Fenlon, Antwi, Mambo, Luke Moore (Johnson 81), Gregory, Long, Ajala, Harrison (Strutton 71), Midson.

Subs not used: Jaimez-Ruiz, Balkestein, Mitchel-King, McNaughton, Djilali.

Booked: Midson, L Moore, Ajala.

Goal: Gleeson 45.

Referee: Scott Mathieson (Cheshire)

Angry Wimbledon FC fans subsequently formed AFC Wimbledon from scratch in the Combined Counties League before enjoying a rapid rise up the football pyramid, and are now just one division below npower League One promotion challengers MK Dons.

The bad blood between the clubs was in evidence throughout, with both sets of fans goading the other, but in the main the match passed off without incident, save for a brief pitch invasion following Wimbledon's equaliser.

The hosts controlled the first half but they struggled to create clear chances in the face of a disciplined Wimbledon rearguard action.

Angelo Balanta came close when he curled the ball just wide of the post after a neat turn on the edge of the box before Gleeson broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time, blasting a 30-yard shot into the top-right corner.

MK Dons burst out of the blocks after the break and skipper Dean Lewington had a 25-yard free-kick pushed over the crossbar by Neil Sullivan before Balanta and Dean Bowditch both lashed strikes into the side-netting.

Mobbed: MK Dons celebrate their last-gasp winner which dumped AFC Wimbledon out of the FA Cup

Mobbed: MK Dons celebrate their last-gasp winner which dumped AFC Wimbledon out of the FA Cup


In front: Stephen Gleeson opened the scoring for MK Dons with a stunning strike

In front: Stephen Gleeson opened the scoring for MK Dons with a stunning strike

Happy days: Gleeson celebrates with his team-mates after scoring the first goal

Happy days: Gleeson celebrates with his team-mates after scoring the first goal

But Midson made the most of a rare
Wimbledon counter-attack to equalise after 59 minutes, glancing a fine
diving header past David Martin from Toby Ajaya's cross.

A number of Wimbledon fans spilled onto the pitch following the goal, but stewards quickly restored order.

In a frantic finale, Ryan Lowe had a
goal ruled out for offside for Milton Keynes and Wimbledon skipper
Steven Gregory was denied by Martin before Otsemobor hung out a leg to
backheel substitute Zeli Ismail's mis-hit shot over Sullivan to spark
wild scenes of celebration for the hosts.

Level pegging: Jack Midson equalised for AFC Wimbledon (above) before celebrating with team-mates and fans

Level pegging: Jack Midson equalised for AFC Wimbledon (above) before celebrating with team-mates and fans

Players and fans celebrate as Jack Midson of AFC Wimbledon scores their first goal

Players and fans celebrate as Jack Midson of AFC Wimbledon scores their first goal

Crunch: Ryan Lowe of MK Dons is tackled by AFC Wimbledon's Luke Moore

Crunch: Ryan Lowe of MK Dons is tackled by AFC Wimbledon's Luke Moore

On the run: AFC Wimbledon's Stacy Long (right) sets up another attack for the visitors

On the run: AFC Wimbledon's Stacy Long (right) sets up another attack for the visitors

Battle: Luke Chadwick (right) and Steve Gregory fight for possession at stadium:mk

Battle: Luke Chadwick (right) and Steve Gregory fight for possession at stadium:mk