The Donsí second trip to Cambridgeshire in seven days brought with it the same reward Ė though this time the slick passing football of Wimbledonís victory at the Abbey Stadium the previous Saturday quite simply wasnít needed. The Dons cruised to their most comfortable victory of the campaign against already-relegated Histon, bringing back memories of the Combined Counties League title-winning season of 2003/04. The only surprise of the afternoon was that the winning margin was only four goals, such was the dominance of Terry Brownís sideís from start to finish.
The Dons boss kept faith with the starting XI that had passed Cambridge United into submission, while the return from injury, illness and suspension respectively of Christian Jolley, Rashid Yussuff and James Mulley made for perhaps the strongest bench in the Donsí nine-year history. The managerís decision not to rest his star players ahead of at least two extra games at the end of the season could have backfired on him, but in the opening ten minutes his side carved out enough clear-cut opportunities to vindicate him completely.
Sam Hatton and Lee Minshull appeared to have the freedom of the Glass World Stadium, with Histon seeming content to stand back and admire the Donsí attacking prowess. Were it not for a combination of poor final balls from Ricky Wellard and Steven Gregory, and two excellent clearances by Histonís Luton loanee Ed Asafu-Adjaye, Wimbledon could have had the game wrapped up with 80 minutes still to play.
Kaid Mohamed wasted a good chance to put the visitors ahead when he took too many touches when well placed inside the area, but with just 14 minutes on the clock the Dons took the lead in fine style. A long free-kick was flicked on to Danny Kedwell, who from 18 yards out hammered an unstoppable volley past on-loan Palace keeper Wes Foderingham, who could only stand and admire the ferocity and accuracy of the Donsí skipperís 22nd league goal of the season.
The goal really should have signalled the start of an onslaught, but the unusual atmosphere (away fans comfortably outnumbering home fans), the relaxed nature of the game (playing against an already relegated side) and the fact that Histon were on a ten-game losing streak combined to give the match the air of a pre-season friendly and the impression that any urgency to put the result beyond doubt by half-time was hard to generate.
A succession of misplaced passes and mix-ups by Wimbledon ensured that Histon were, mathematically at least, still in the game, and some of the travelling supporters were becoming irked at what they perceived to be their players taking it easy. To their credit, Histon were making life a bit more difficult for the Dons, but whenever they won the ball or were presented with it they struggled to make anything of their opportunity.
Two more Wellard through-balls failed to find their target as half-time edged nearer, and then two debatable offside decisions, both as Kedwell latched onto deft passes by Luke Moore, denied the captain the chance to add to his total.
The second half started in much the same fashion, but whereas Mohamed had had a quiet first half, the orange-booted Welshman was now at the heart of much of the Donsí good work. However, the former Bath man managed to play an unwitting role in denying Ricky Wellard a certain goal, when after failing to control a bouncing ball in the penalty area he crept into Wellardís field of view as the midfielder looked certain to volley his side into a two-goal lead from 12 yards out. Mohamedís presence put Wellard off to the extent that his shot sailed over the bar and the stand behind the goal, coming to rest next to an abandoned settee.
It was clear that Histon were there for the taking, as they were offering little going forward. It could easily have been one of those days for the Dons, with them hanging onto a one-goal lead. But then three goals in four minutes just past the hour mark gave the scoreline a more realistic look.
First, Mohamed weaved into the box and set up Moore, who netted with a fine, low finish. Just 40 seconds later the same two combined to great effect when Histon gave the ball away from the kick-off; Gregory found Mohamed on the right, and he beat his full-back and squared the ball to the edge of the area for Moore to sweep home emphatically. The fourth arrived on 67 minutes when Hatton, Minshull and Kedwell combined neatly on the Donsí right, a move that ended with Kedwell poking the ball through Foderinghamís legs from a narrowing angle from eight yards. From wondering whether a second goal was needed, to game over: under 200 seconds.
Minshull, Moore and Wellard then made way for the returning trio of Mulley, Jolley and Yussuff, with the Dons fans now eager for their side to chalk up their record Blue Square Bet Premier away win. Yussuff and Mohamed both had shots charged down; Mohamed forced Foderingham into a fine save; Histon player-manager Dave Livermore denied Kedwell his hat-trick with a last-ditch block tackle; and Jolley hit the post after rounding the keeper.
Mohamedís 25-yard dipping volley flashed just wide, and both Gregory and Mulley made a hash of yet another shooting opportunity. Even Gareth Gwillim, on his first return to Histon since joining Dagenham & Redbridge, got in on the act and combined well with Gregory and Mohamed on two occasions but saw his crosses well cleared by Irish Under-21 international Lanre Oyebanjo.
That a fifth goal didnít come was completely immaterial Ė the Dons had put their stuttering March behind them, and with four consecutive wins and some favourable results elsewhere had all but confirmed a second- or third-place finish and home advantage in the second leg of the play-off semi-final. In all fairness, though, itís unlikely that theyíll have such an untroubled afternoon as this again for some time.