Twelve years on from that memorable day at Wembley Stadium, Dean Lewington still views MK Dons’ Johnstone’s Paint Trophy success as one of the biggest moments in the Club’s history.
On March 30th 2008, a Paul Ince led Dons side beat Grimsby Town 2-0 at the home of English football to lift their first-ever trophy in front of over 33,000 supporters from Milton Keynes.
“It feels like a life-time ago!” Lewington said, when reflecting on the victory. “I definitely think it's in the top three of the most important moments in the club's history.
“It was the first positive impact the Club had, I think. Until that season, we were at the Hockey Stadium and we were scrapping about at the bottom of the league not winning many games.
“That season, we had a big name as manager in Paul Ince, we were winning games and we gave the fans, and people in Milton Keynes, something to celebrate.”
Recalling the day itself, Lewington said: “We went down there on Thursday night and stayed together for a few days.
“Incey took us to Wembley on the Saturday so we could get used to it, take our pictures at the stadium and things like that.
“It really helped because by the time the game came on Sunday, we had done all of that. We saw the Grimsby lads arrive and they were doing all of that before the game, and were still in awe of the place. It is an amazing place to play but we were used to it by then.”
Things could have been different that afternoon had Willy Gueret not guessed correctly to keep out a Danny Boshell’s first-half penalty – the Frenchman making up for his error which saw the spot-kick awarded in the first place.
“My first thought was 'oh no, what's he doing there?!’ because he was going nowhere!” Lewington said. “Willy had a pretty decent record when it came to penalties that season, so it was a huge relief when he saved it.”
From then on, the Dons dominated and, in the second half, established a two-goal lead courtesy of Keith Andrews’ penalty and a header from Sean O’Hanlon. Should it have been three, though, Dean?
“I had a decent chance! I don't know what I was doing so far forward but I should have scored really. The keeper made a decent save.
"[Grimsby] had burned themselves out trying to get near us in the first half, so when we got the second goal, I never really felt it was in doubt.
“We had Sean and Swaz at the back who would head brick walls. Our defence did not let in a lot of goals that year, so it was a comfortable end.”