THE great Yorkshire show will come early this year after Huddersfield Town sealed a mouth-watering League I play-off final showdown with Sheffield United at Wembley on Saturday week.
Alan Smith’s late goal earned the battling Dons a 2-1 win on the night with the former Leeds player heading home from a corner two minutes into stoppage time, but Town held out to end a nerve-jangling game on a high.
Town, who were 2-0 up from the first leg, have yet to clinch a home play-off victory in eight attempts after Daniel Powell cancelled out Jordan Rhodes’ well-taken 40th goal of the season during a tense first half.
But it is a statistic which will surely be forgiven by Town followers, who remained loyal and loud throughout, if they win at the national stadium in a game to savour.
With left-back Calum Woods passing a fitness test on his toe injury but midfielder Scott Arfield (ankle) missing out, Town made just one change to Saturday’s starting line-up.
Kallum Higginbotham, who impressed after replacing Arfield in the first leg, came in.
MK relegated on-loan Newcastle man Smith to the bench, with Jay O’Shea getting the nod for the XI.
Town fans were making the most of the cardboard clackers provided by the club, but on a greasy surface following a pre-match shower, it was the Dons who had the first chance with Town keeper Ian Bennett smothering Charlie MacDonald’s low angled shot.
The home side were looking a little nervy but conjured a decent chance when Damien Johnson and Rhodes combined to set up Lee Novak, who shot wide.
Johnson was again involved as Town worked hard to break down MK’s attacks and he made a key block as O’Shea put in a low drive before Bennett had to race out to thwart MacDonald as he broke through on goal.
There was an air of tension about the stadium, but it was eased when Town went ahead in the 18th minute.
Rhodes showed nerves of steel to make the most of an assist by Danny Ward who flicked the ball on for his teammate to step round keeper David Martin and roll the ball home.
Rhodes ran straight towards the Kilner Bank who rose as one to acclaim another slick strike by the Scotland international hot shot.
Town were now looking far more confident and a quick break involving Jack Hunt and Rhodes threatened the Dons defence until Ward was ruled offside by a narrow margin.
MK continued to push for a goal of their own, however, and were unlucky when Dean Bowditch’s effort hit Town skipper Peter Clarke and looped over.