Wimbledon 6 v Fleetwood Town 1
(Wimbledon win 8-1 on aggregate)
Wimbledon are just 90 minutes from a possible return to the Football League after thrashing Fleetwood Town 6-1 in their play-off semi-final second leg on Wednesday (11 May).
Kaid Mohamed was the hero with a hat-trick to help clinch an emphatic 8-1 aggregate win that sets the Dons up for a nerve-tingling final against Luton Town at the City of Manchester Stadium on Saturday 21 May.
Mohamed's first goal came after just 27 seconds to help ease any fears that the north-west side might mount a comeback following their first-leg defeat just days before. The Welshman chased down a long Brett Johnson clearance and dispossessed the lumbering Sean Gregan before firing home low past Danny Hurst.
Seb Brown stood up well to deny Gareth Seddon an on-the-night equaliser, and was then grateful to Sam Hatton when the right-back cleared a Magno Vieira effort from on the line.
But Hatton was involved at the other end after 28 minutes, playing a delightful pass for the charging Danny Kedwell to latch onto before lifting the ball over the advancing Hurst and into the back of the net to make it 2-0.
Brown was again involved, blocking a George Donnelly drive, but it was 3-0 before half-time when Luke Moore charged down a poor Junior Brown pass before drawing the keeper and squaring for Mohamed to score his second of the night by tapping into an empty net.
It may have been 5-0 to the Dons on aggregate at half-time, but Fleetwood came out with renewed vigour after half-time and pulled a goal back soon after the break. Seb Brown could only parry Sean Clancy’s shot, and Johnson, lunging in to deny Seddon, only succeeded in prodding the ball into the back of the net.
But, after a period of Fleetwood pressure, the Dons again turned the screw.
After 63 minutes it was 4-1 when Kedwell set up Rashid Yussuff. His effort was blocked by Hurst but the ball fell to Mohamed who turned it home at the second attempt to complete his hat-trick.
After 68 minutes it was 5-1 when substitute Christian Jolley embarked on a mazy run, evaded Peter Cavanagh and jinked around the bamboozled Junior Brown, only to see his shot blocked by Hurst. But when Brown miskicked his attempted clearance, Jolley was on hand to gently loft the falling ball over Hurst and into the back of the net.
And after 80 minutes it was 6-1 when James Mulley won the ball deep in his own half, released Yussuff, and then surged forward to collect the return pass which he took round Hurst before slotting home from a narrow angle.
There was still time for Jolley to see an effort blasted into the side netting following a deflected Hatton free-kick, but it was still an emphatic, merciless performance from the Dons, who are now on a run of eight victories in nine unbeaten games.
Delighted manager Terry Brown told the Surrey Comet: "We come into [the final] in the best form I can remember this team – or any team I have ever had – being in. We go into it in such a confident fashion.
"We are going to Manchester, on a surface which is like a snooker table, the biggest pitch in the league, and it is going to suit us down to the ground.
"This club is all about the journey. We might eventually get there, whether it is this year or next year, but it is fantastic."
Tickets for the final against Luton are being sold through an agency, See Tickets. Wimbledon supporters should ring 0844 854 1361 or visit www.seetickets.com/afcwimbledon to order. The match kicks off at 3pm.
Wimbledon: S. Brown, Hatton, Gwillim (Yakubu 46), Gregory, Stuart, Johnson, Yussuff, Wellard, Kedwell (Mulley 72), Mohamed, L. Moore (Jolley 57). Subs not used: Turner, Minshull.
Goalscorers: Mohamed 1, 35, 63, Kedwell 28, Jolley 68, Mulley 80.
Fleetwood Town: Hurst, Barry, McNulty, Harvey, Vieira (Clancy 46), J. Brown, McGuire, Seddon, Cavanagh, Donnelly, Gregan (Linwood 46). Subs not used: Davies, Mullan, Parker.
Goalscorer: Johnson (own goal) 47.
Booked: Linwood 46.
Referee: Andy Madley (West Yorkshire).