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Kick off 19:45 (UK)

22 December 2023 Venue Broadfield Stadium Attendance

Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Match Previews

“It’s got all the ingredients of a cracker”

Team news: Ali fit and “Tills” could figure against his old club

22 December 2023

Johnnie Jackson is relishing tonight’s trip to the Broadfield Stadium, as we look to maintain our impressive League Two away form in West Sussex.

We head to Crawley Town having only lost twice on our travels this season - and our manager is excited at the prospect of a sizeable Dons contingent making the journey for this festive meeting.

“It’s got all the ingredients of a cracker,” said Johnnie after Thursday’s final training session. “It’s fairly local and it should be a good game against a side close to us in the league.”

You can listen to everything Johnnie had to say below.

”I’m really looking forward to this one, with it being on a Friday night under the lights,” added Johnnie. “I remember taking a big crowd down there previously, so it should be really exciting. We want to keep progressing and keep doing what we’ve been doing.

“I feel like we’re in a really good place. Our away form has been good, and we’re starting to back that up with some strong performances at home.”

Ali Al-Hamadi has recovered from a knock to his shin late on against Portsmouth and Johnnie yet again has a big squad to choose from. It could mark the return of James Tilley to Crawley. Following his summer move to us, the attacking midfielder has already reached double figures this campaign.


“He’ll probably have a little bit of extra fire in his belly because he did so well for Crawley,” said Johnnie. “That’s where he caught my eye and why we made the decision to try and bring him to the Club. He’ll go back to his old club with a point to prove, I’m sure.

“He’s probably been a bit unlucky of late and frustrated. He came out of the team at a time where I felt we’d asked a lot of him. He’d played a lot of minutes and a lot of games – probably more than he’d ever done in his career, to be honest. I just felt the time was right for him to have a little rest.

“Josh Neufville has come in and a couple of others too, but that’s just the way it is with this squad! ‘Tills’ is a top player and he showed that on Tuesday night at Portsmouth – I thought he was outstanding down at Fratton Park and really played his role in a top performance.

“I know that I can take one out and put ‘Tills’ in and he’d be ready to step up, especially against his old club as well.”


Johnnie is appreciative of the efforts of his Crawley counterpart Scott Lindsey, who took over the role after leaving Swindon Town in January.

“I think they’ve done really well this season,” said Johnnie. “They’ve played some really good football and they’re a difficult team to play against and to prepare for, with the way they pose problems for the opposition – in terms of their formation, passing and movement.

“It’s something we have to be well drilled for, but something that we’ve seen in recent weeks from the likes of Notts County and Swindon – playing in a similar vein. It won’t be completely unique to us, but they have a different way of going about things, for sure. They’ve had a lot of success with it, so we have to be bang up for it.”

Photos: Pro Sports Images.

You can purchase a video match pass and get full commentary of the game from our Radio WDON team at iFollow Dons.

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Match Reports

10-man Dons triumph against the odds

Victory at the Broadfield Stadium

22 December 2023

AFC Wimbledon withstood all obstacles to clinch a 2-1 win at Crawley Town, finishing up the evening with 10 men.

In the end it was an early double from Josh Davison and Ali Al-Hamadi that decided what was a feisty encounter between two old school rivals.

Wimbledon not only showed their eye for goal but also their fighting spirit to see the match through to the end following Joe Lewis’ red card for a second yellow.

Vital saves and blocks combined with energy and togetherness got us over the line as the Dons momentum train shows no sign of stopping in the lead up to Christmas.

Johnnie Jackson rang the changes once again for this Sky Bet League Two fixture, with only Ryan Johnson and Davison remaining in the side which won 5-2 at Portsmouth on Tuesday in the Bristol Street Motors Trophy.

This meant that Alex Bass, Huseyin Biler, Jake Reeves, Al-Hamadi, Armani Little, Omar Bugiel, Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, Jack Currie and Joe Lewis were restored to the starting eleven.

There was an early warning sign for the Dons as Crawley directed a shot off target from the edge of the area. Nevertheless we soon got in to our groove and took an early lead as a result. A cross from Huseyin Biler came in from the right-hand side, with the in-form Davison stooping low to head home as Crawley keeper Luca Ashby Hammond helped the ball on its way.

Things got even better for our side soon after as Ali Al-Hamadi turned on the style to claim his 15th goal of the season. Our number 10 picked up the ball on the right before jinking inside and out, before coming back inside and firing off a near post effort that drove into the net for 2-0.

Confidence was flowing through the veins of the Dons, typified by Bugiel making a crunching challenge in his own half before skilfully flicking the ball over an oncoming defender’s head in the other.

We could have increased our lead even further before the break, had a second for Al-Hamadi not been disallowed for offside - Johnnie Jackson was sent off by referee Matt Corlett shortly after this decision. Nevertheless Wimbledon trooped in at half-time with a two-goal cushion to protect and potentially build on.

Al-Hamadi was into his stride once more early in the second-half, this time firing off target from a tight angle. Bass was then called into action for the first time as he sprung full-length to keep out a long range effort from Crawley substitute Klaidi Lolos. Our defence was then on hand again to repel two close range efforts from the hosts.

Johnson was next to have a go at the other end, seeing his header from a corner come off the inside of the post and somehow end up in the hands of the grateful Ashby Hammond.

The make-up of the game changed just after the hour mark as Lewis was shown red for a second bookable offence, meaning Wimbledon had to see out the rest of the contest with 10 men.

Alex Pearce was introduced in response, reforming our back four as our shape took on a familiar look albeit with a man less. Josh Neufville was then latterly added into the mix to give us fresh legs in the closing stages.

However the pressure cranked up as Crawley halved our lead through Will Wright’s strike which found the top corner, giving Bass little chance. James Tilley and James Ball took our substitutions up to four as six added minutes were signalled.

Johnson did superbly well to block a close range effort as the Dons had their backs against the wall. In the end the hosts could not get past the Wimbledon blockade as we saw it out to take a deserved three points.

AFC Wimbledon: Alex Bass, Huseyin Biler, Jake Reeves, Ryan Johnson, Josh Davison (Alex Pearce), Ali Al-Hamadi (James Tilley), Armani Little, Omar Bugiel (James Ball), Connor Lemonheigh-Evans (Josh Neufville), Jack Currie, Joe Lewis

Attendance: 4,792 (1,330)

PICS: Paul Hazelwood (Pro Sports Images)

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