Despite all the highs and lows from this past season, Player of the Year Shaun Williams insists there’s one game that stands head and shoulders above the rest for him.
Back in November, MK Dons’ 6-1 FA Cup replay victory over Cambridge City set up the first meeting between MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon in a match the whole world would be tuning in to.
After two long weeks under the intense media spotlight, Karl Robinson and his side took to the field at stadiummk in front of the biggest crowd of the season at stadiummk – and the millions of people at home watching on ITV.
Williams’ fellow Irishman Stephen Gleeson put the Dons ahead with a strike that was later voted ‘Goal of the Season’ at the Club’s Player of the Year awards before AFC Wimbledon striker Jack Midson headed home an equaliser in front of the travelling supporters.
David Martin then pulled off a superb stop to deny the League 2 side from stealing victory before Jon Otsemobor etched his name into Dons folklore by lifting Zeli Ismail’s cross over AFC Wimbledon keeper Neil Sullivan with a cheeky back-heel.
And with the FA Cup final taking place this weekend, mkdons.com caught up with Williams to look back at the ‘biggest’ game of the former Irish Young Player of Year’s career.
The 27-year-old said: “The AFC Wimbledon game was the biggest game I’ve played in. I played in the Irish Cup final back home but the atmosphere here was ridiculous with what it meant to both Clubs it was unique. The fans were brilliant as well.
“In the build-up to the game the media really got hold of it and there were stories everywhere about who was right and who was wrong. It did mean something to me and, although I give my all in every game, that match just meant that much more to the Club and so it meant a lot more to me.”
Despite the Dons taking part in 10 Cup games this season only one, the Capital One Cup opener away at Cheltenham Town, went to a dreaded penalty shoot-out.
Williams, who converted all of his four spot kicks for the Club this season, wasn’t on the pitch for the shoot-out at Whaddon Road but with his impressive penalty record there is no doubt that the ex-Sporting Fingal star would be the first to volunteer in any future penalty deciders.
And the Dublin-born defender admits that penalty-taking is a responsibility he relishes.
“I’ve always taken penalties. When I first came here there were more senior players that took them but I put my name down for it last season and stuck with it. The only time I’ve ever been nervous when taking a penalty was just after I missed against Notts County last year. The next penalty I took I was really nervous.
“The Sheffield United penalty was probably the most pressurised penalty I’ve had. The ‘keeper went the right way and I was just hoping I put enough on it to get it past him. For it to be against one of the biggest teams in the League and in the 90th minute - it was just different gravy.”