Maybe not the title, but the Championship for Dons

Samir Carruthers leads the celebrations as MK Dons win promotion
Samir Carruthers leads the celebrations as MK Dons win promotion

On Sunday, Milton Keynes changed for the better. Again.

Ironically, the dawn of a new era at MK1 hinged entirely on a team based 104 miles away but as the Beatles once sang - you get by with a little help from your friends.

Dean Bowditch

Dean Bowditch

The name George Moncur will live long in the memories of MK Dons fans, up there in the echelons with the likes of Gareth Edds, Stephen Gleeson, Jon Otsemobor and Dean Lewington as heroes. Despite scoring five against a hapless Yeovil side, Moncur’s at the Weston Homes Community Stadium ultimately was the only one that mattered to MK Dons.

Dons knew whatever they did, it had to be better than Preston. If they drew, Dons had to win. But the pressure went the other way too. Colchester were fighting for their lives, desperate for a victory to keep them in League 1 for another season.

So when Carl Baker wrapped his right foot around a shot in the seventh minute, things changed. Dons were in the lead, Preston were still level. As it stood, Dons were up.

And the goals kept on coming at stadium:mk. Dean Lewington, the man who has seen it all at the club since their controversial inception in 2004, got the party going when he bent in a free kick to double the lead - an attribute well hidden in the skipper’s arsenal.

Kyle McFadzean celebrates.

Kyle McFadzean celebrates.

More were to follow. Darren Potter volleyed in a third 10 minutes before the break, effectively ending the affair as a spectacle. But if Dons weren’t going to go up automatically, they were going to go into the play-offs with an ominous record looming - 100 league goals.

They didn’t have to wait long for it either, as Will Grigg leapt to meet Dean Lewington’s cross to nod in the fourth just before the break. Ton up, and the way things were looking at the interval, going up too.

With the game a dead rubber, all eyes were back on Colchester. Modern technology allows fans everywhere to be up to date as soon as something happens anywhere, and a penalty decision in Essex sent the 16,000 at stadium:mk into raptures. But they quickly retook their seats when they heard the news that Chris Porter’s spot kick was yet to come out of orbit.

Somewhere in the haze of confusion, Yeovil pulled a goal back, but it mattered little unless their game produced another three goals to make things interesting. Needless to say, they didn’t.

Lewington’s second of the afternoon put a bow on the show, the skipper nodding in Dons’ fifth of the afternoon to reiterate their desire to see the back of League 1 once and for all.

Six minutes later, Dons fans, players, backroom staff and board would all get their wish. Moncur’s strike past Sam Johnstone with 10 minutes to go saved Colchester’s season. Preston were not only staring defeat squarely in the face for the first time since January 31, but were also down to a finger tip of grip left on their automatic promotion chances. Two goals in 10 minutes - they’d need a miracle.

Unfortunately for Simon Grayson’s side, all the miracles were bedding down at stadium:mk, ready for the jubilant pitch invasion at the final whistle, knowing the game at Colchester was already over. They were there.

101 goals.

91 points.

Automatic promotion.

And they beat Manchester United too - remember that?