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12 August 2023 Venue The Cherry Red Records Stadium Attendance

Kick off 15:00 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

A welcome headache for Johnnie

Weekend preview

11 August 2023

Johnnie Jackson is facing a big selection dilemma after seeing our squad step up to the mark in our opening two games of 2023/24.

A bullish 0-0 draw at Grimsby Town on the opening day of the League Two season was followed up by a dramatic 2-1 victory over Coventry City in the Carabao Cup – meaning we head into Saturday’s game against Wrexham (3pm kick-off) with a spring in our step.

Here our manager talks selection headaches, upsetting the odds in the cup, learning from fellow coaches, the departure of Alfie Bendle and facing off against the Red Dragons.

HOW DIFFICULT WILL IT BE FOR YOU TO PICK THE TEAM AGAINST WREXHAM AFTER SO MANY STRONG INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCES?

It will be a hard 11 to pick! I’ve spoken about competition for places a lot. You always want people to come in from the start and off the bench to make an impact. We backed up a good performance against Grimsby in the midweek cup game. It’s going to be a welcome headache for me.

WAS THE WIN AGAINST COVENTRY ONE OF YOUR BEST MOMENTS SINCE JOINING THE CLUB?

Definitely! It was probably my best moment in management so far. It was superb – the nature of the win against a team two divisions higher, the way we scored the two goals to come back, the way the stadium was bouncing under the lights – it had all the ingredients for a special night.

HOW KEEN ARE YOU TO STEER THE PLAYERS’ FOCUS AWAY FROM THE CHELSEA GAME?

We want to keep them focused on what’s next but I do think they should look forward to it at the same time. They should enjoy the fact that their performance has earnt them the opportunity. Let’s not shy away from it, it will be a great occasion for us all. Between now and then there’s a lot of football to play, we won’t be looking at that game before we look at the ones that come in-between it.

IT’S VERY COMMON FOR OPPOSING MANAGERS TO MEET AFTER GAMES. CAN YOU GIVE US AN INSIGHT INTO THOSE CONVERSATIONS AND HOW BENEFICIAL ARE THEY?

I try to keep it quite relaxed and try not to pry too much into what they thought about us as a team. It’s nice to talk football with other coaches. For example someone like Mark Hughes last season, to speak to someone who has done what he has done in the game, it’s good to pick his brains because we’re all in the same boat.

Sharing experiences is important. It will be good to talk to Phil Parkinson afterwards, having played for him. It will be a funny experience in a way.

ALFIE BENDLE HAS MOVED TO FOREST GREEN ROVERS. WHAT’S YOUR FEELINGS ON THAT?

Alfie leaves with everyone’s best wishes. He’s a lovely lad. He expressed that he was keen to play regular football. But that’s something we can’t guarantee to anyone, it’s on the player to show they deserve that chance. He found himself down the pecking order in midfield with the emergence of Morgan Williams alongside the new players that we’ve brought in.

He has sought out a new challenge. We felt it was a move that was best for all parties – especially with the incomings that we’ve done, something had to give. I hope he goes on to good things.

ASIDE FROM THE MEDIA ATTENTION AROUND WREXHAM, WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THEM AS A TEAM?

They’re strong, physical, really well organised and they’re a massive set piece threat. They’ve got good players that I feel have ability that is beyond League Two level in some cases. Their resources have allowed them to get those sorts of players.

We saw what they could do when they won the National League – I think with the ambitions of their club, they’ll be looking to go again this season. We’ll be looking to get in their way tomorrow to stop that from happening.

PICS: Pro Sports Images 

 

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Match Reports

Tilley scores for share of the points

1-1 at the Cherry Red Records Stadium

12 August 2023

James Tilley scored his first goal for the Club as AFC Wimbledon fought back to draw 1-1 with Wrexham.

Tipped by many as the promotion favourites in League Two, the Red Dragons presented a tough nut to crack as they took the lead through a fortuitous deflected effort from Elliot Lee.

Wimbledon were not deterred however as we stuck to our game plan and matched our opponents for much of the contest.

As has already been the theme of this season, the match was defined from the penalty spot as Tilley got off the mark following a foul on Harry Pell – in turn making up for Ali Al-Hamadi's failure to convert in the same situation.

The draw keeps the Dons unbeaten as we head into our next away trip with a spring in our step against Colchester United.

Johnnie Jackson made five changes to the side which defeated Coventry City 2-1 in midweek, with Alex Bass, Josh Neufville, Armani Little, Alex Pearce and Omar Bugiel all coming in to start. This saw Nik Tzanev, Lee Brown, Pell, James Ball and Aron Sasu drop to the substitutes’ bench.

The Dons started with a high tempo with Ali Al-Hamadi and Bugiel causing a lot of problems for the Wrexham defence. However, it was the visitors who took the lead just past the first quarter mark. Jacob Mendy broke down the left before crossing low for Elliot Lee to fire in a deflected effort.

We looked to respond quickly, with good work by Al-Hamadi leading to Ryan Johnson’s shot being blocked in the area. Up the other end James McLean’s header was easily scooped up by Bass.

Al-Hamadi continued to carry the majority of our threat during the first-half, but his neat pass to James Tilley proved to be too quick for our winger to control in the area.

Despite some sustained pressure we were unable to find a way through the Red Dragons, meaning we trooped in at the break with work to do.

There was a great passage of play early on in the second-half as Bugiel turned well after receiving Neufville’s pass before firing over. Tilley was then again involved as his low drive was deflected just wide of the post.

We then had a golden opportunity to level the scores as referee Darren Drysdale pointed to the penalty spot. However, it was unfortunately more disappointment for Al-Hamadi as he saw his spot-kick well matched by Ben Foster. Our striker responded quickly, seeing a powerful effort well matched.

Bass matched a free-kick from Lee as Wrexham threatened to double their lead. We wouldn’t miss out from the spot the next time we got a penalty though, with Tilley smashing the ball high into the roof of the net after substitute Pell was hauled over.

Our goalkeeper then had to make a strong save to keep the scores level deep into injury time, palming away well to his right at full stretch.

In the end, it was honours even as both sides came away with a point that reflected the way the game panned out.

AFC Wimbledon: Alex Bass, Jake Reeves, Ryan Johnson, James Tilley, Ali Al-Hamadi (Josh Davison), Josh Neufville (Aron Sasu), Armani Little (James Ball), Alex Pearce (Lee Brown), Omar Bugiel (Harry Pell), Joe Lewis, Isaac Ogundere

Attendance: 8,584 (1,200 away)

PICS: Ian Stephen (Pro Sports Images)

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Ticket News

Ticket Update for Wrexham match

Buy now for our first home game of 2023/24

8 August 2023

Tickets are still available for our first home match of the new season on Saturday.

The Dons start the home campaign by taking on League Two new boys Wrexham - and we've had high demand to attend the fixture.

Following the sale of tickets to supporters in priority groups, fans not in these categories can now buy for this match - as long as you have a previous purchase history.

The option to buy online will become available if you fit this criteria.

Buy now from our online ticket shop.

For any issues or queries, please e-mail tickets@afcwimbledon.ltd.uk

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