Meet Town's opposition, AFC Wimbledon: Never surrender Dons will be tough nut to crack
- Credit: PA
Ipswich Town travel to AFC Wimbledon tonight, looking to put their disappointing recent performances behind them. MIKE BACON takes a look at the opposition.
NEVER SURRENDER DONS
One of the many views from Town fans and pundits a month ago, or so, was that Ipswich looked to have a fairly decent run-in, as the League One season comes to a climax.
Up against many teams in the bottom half of the table - including tonight's opponents, AFC Wimbledon - who Town also have to meet at Portman Road, it looked as though Town could pick up points with ease.
However, the problem for Paul Cook's side is that while they may not be up against many promotion hopefuls during their run-in, they are up against teams battling for their relegation lives.
None more so than tonight's opponents.
AFC Wimbledon enjoyed their biggest win of the season on Saturday - a 5-1 thrashing of Accrington Stanley. They have lost just two of their last six and sit comfortably ahead of Town in the last-six form guide - 11th, to Town's 18th.
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In the live table, Wimbledon are one point and one place above the relegation zone, in 20th position. Town, despite their indifferent form of late, are still just three points off sixth place and four points off fourth! Town are eighth.
MEET THE GAFFER
AFC Wimbledon boss Mark Robinson certainly has the club running through his veins.
The 55-year-old has been with the Dons since 2004 which, bearing in mind the club was only formed in 2002, means he has been part of the set up since the club's non-league days, as they rose through the leagues.
Robinson was appointed Interim Manager in January and a month later was appointed head coach.
He holds a UEFA A coaching licence, and has served the Club as Head of Youth, Centre of Excellence Manager, Academy Manager, Lead Professional Phase Coach and Loan Manager, First Team Coach and, most recently, Interim Manager of the first team.
PHOENIX FROM THE FLAMES
AFC Wimbledon were formed in 2002 by former supporters of Wimbledon FC, after the Football Association allowed that club to relocate to Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire, about 60 miles north of Wimbledon.
Many Wimbledon FC supporters were strongly opposed to moving the club so far away from Wimbledon, feeling that a club transplanted to a distant location would no longer represent Wimbledon or the club's historic legacy and tradition.
But move they did, in 2003 and Wimbledon formally changed the name of the club to Milton Keynes Dons in 2004.
So, AFC Wimbledon was formed. But it had to start all over again and began life in the ninth tier of English football, in the Premier Division of the Combined Counties League.
Yet they soon rose up out of non-league and back into League football.
Since its formation, the club has since been promoted six times in 13 seasons, going from that ninth tier to where they are now - in League One - alongside of course... MK Dons!
BIG SUFFOLK FA CUP CLASH
As AFC Wimbledon headed up through the non-league pyramid, they entered the FA Cup at an early stage.
Back in September 2007 they drew Eastern Counties First Division side, Debenham LC in the second qualifying round - a plum draw for Debenham.
It was a grand occasion - and one I reported on. There were more than 800 fans in the near 1,100 crowd - a still record attendance for the Maitlands ground, at Debenham Leisure Centre.
But it was the stronger Wimbledon side who ran out easy winners - 1-5. Debenham's goal coming from the penalty spot - Stu Jopling netting it.
THE LAST TIME
The last time Town and AFC Wimbledon met, it was a goalless draw at the Cherry Red Records Stadium, back in February 2020.
Neither side registered a shot on target in the first half - sound familiar? Although Ipswich did register six in the second half.
Rather bizarrely at the time, the result left Wimbledon just outside the League One relegation places and Ipswich just outside the play-off ones - just as things stand today!
DID YOU KNOW?
AFC Wimbledon Dons hold the record for the longest unbeaten league run in the history of English senior football. The club went 78 league matches without defeat between February 2003 and November 2004.