MK Dons boss Paul Tisdale heaped praise on his side’s resolve after a 2-2 Carabao Cup first-round draw at Kingsmeadow saw his side eventually prevail 4-2 on penalties.
AFC Wimbledon’s Scott Wagstaff struck before Conor McGrandles and David Kusumu replied, with Luke O’Neill’s injury-time equaliser forcing penalties.
Substitute Alex Gilbey held his nerve to win the shootout after MK’s Baily Cargill and Wimbledon’s Callum Reilly and Joe Pigott had their penalties saved.
“I’m delighted to get through after what was a really good game of football,” Tisdale said. “The players were frustrated to concede at the end, but I told them to shut up and go again.
“You leave the door open when you’re one up going into the final stages of the game.
“We knew what the atmosphere would be like, it always is when we come here and fair play to both players who missed during normal time for stepping up in the shootout.
“The game had everything really, some good goals, missed penalties and then a penalty shootout. The only thing it was lacking was a sending off really.”
McGrandles missed the night’s first penalty two minutes in, Wagstaff equalising five minutes later before the MK Dons midfielder made amends after 16 minutes and Kasumu made it 2-1 after the break.
Wimbledon skipper Pigott then missed a penalty and O’Neill equalised four minutes into injury time only for the hosts to lose the dramatic shootout.
Wimbledon boss Wally Downes said: “I’m gutted to go out of the cup but, if you look at it, a penalty shootout isn’t a game of football and that’s what I told the players.
“I told them to let that disappointment last five minutes because in a league game you make a euphoric comeback and the fans go home happy after a 2-2 draw.
“Joe Pigott missing two penalties doesn’t change my opinion of him as a footballer, they’re grown men. They should score and if they don’t they have to deal with it.
“MK Dons are just another team, actually they’re not even another team.”