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Kick off 19:45 (UK)

28 November 2023 Venue Priestfield Stadium Attendance

Kick off 19:45 (UK)

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English Football League - League Two

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Team news: Dons at full strength

Johnnie faces selection headache

28 November 2023

Johnnie Jackson has a fully fit squad to pick from for tonight’s League Two meeting with Gillingham at MEMS Priestfield Stadium.

Defender Huseyin Biler and forward Omar Bugiel have served their one game suspensions and midfielder Harry Pell has now been involved in the last two training sessions, as he builds up his fitness having returned from injury. 

“It’s been great work from the medical team to get everyone back fit and firing,” said Johnnie after Monday’s workout in New Malden. “We’ve got a lot of players available for selection. When everyone is fit you almost expect at least one or two to be injured at any given time as that’s usually the norm, but fortunately that’s not the case. 

“We want to keep it that way. Obviously with everyone fit, then the more selection headaches it gives me! Leaving people out is the difficult part of the job and never nice, but I think players understand and it’s about nailing down that position when you get the opportunity. There will be opportunities though for everyone during this busy period - that’s for certain.” 

You can hear everything Johnnie had to say and read a summary of the key points below.

The away form has been fantastic this season and you’ve addressed the home form, so is it about developing a consistency now? 

Yes, that’s it - just trying to find a real consistency about what we’re doing. We know that we can change it up if we need to. We know that we can change personnel and it shouldn’t have much impact on what we’re trying to do. 

We’re going to need all of that - especially looking at December with the number of games that we’re going to play now. What with the Trophy and the FA Cup as well - the games are going to be coming thick and fast. 

If we continue with that performance level and that consistency, as we’ve done for large periods of the season, then I think we’ll continue to pick up points and that’s what we need to aim for. 

Skivo and Omar 16.9.JPG

Stephen Clemence is the Head Coach there, I guess you two go back as far as your days together as players at Tottenham? 

I know him well; he was a bit older than me at Spurs. He was someone I looked up to as a left-footed midfield player. We’ve kept in touch down the years - so it’ll be great to see him and wish him well for the future, but not on Tuesday night when we’ll be looking to put one over on him! 

Huseyin Biler and Omar Bugiel come back into contention? 

They’re back available. There are lots of selection headaches and lots of people proving a point that they should be in the team. 

It’ll be a difficult eleven to pick, however we go about it. There will be some who are left disappointed, but that’s why we built this squad. At the moment, everyone is fit and there are no suspensions, so it’s going to be a difficult eighteen to pick!  

Harry Pell is back in full training now? 

Yes, he’s back, but he’s only had a couple of sessions. He joined back up with the group on Friday and then on Monday, so he’s still not had a big bulk of training. We need to get him back to where his fitness is firing, having missed a few weeks now, but it’s great to have him back out there with the boys. 

IMG_6142 group 16.9.JPG

Tuesday night’s game is the nineteenth for us and that means afterwards things change in terms of suspensions - if certain players don’t pick up any further yellow cards.

We’ve got a few players on the brink, but I always say to them that you have to block, run and tackle - that’s what we demand from them. 

If players pick up cards from doing that - we can live with it. I need them to play their games and not have that on their minds. What we want to avoid are the silly ones, for dissent, kicking the ball away or not retreating for a free kick. 

We pride ourselves on the way that we go about our business. I don’t want anyone to hold back on their game, but hopefully we get through this one and then it goes from five yellow cards up to ten and we don’t have to think so much about suspensions again for a while.

Main photo: Ian Stephen (Pro Sports Images).

You can purchase a video match pass and there's full commentary of the game tonight with our Radio WDON team from iFollow Dons. 

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Match Reports

Dons narrowly beaten by Gills

Defeat at Priestfield

28 November 2023

Wimbledon were left empty-handed on a stop-start evening in Kent as Gillingham emerged as the 1-0 victors.

A game that offered little in the way of clear cut chances was put on hold for a period of 20 minutes following a power cut. When play did get back underway however it was the Dons who had the better of the chances, with Ali Al-Hamadi coming closest to continuing his hot streak in front of goal as he struck the post.

The home side got their goal largely against the run of play as we uncharacteristically conceded from a set piece. This proved to be decisive as our late aerial deliveries failed to result in the opening required to get anything out of the game, meaning we were dealt only our second away defeat of the season in the league.

Johnnie Jackson made one change to the side which beat Notts County 4-2, with Omar Bugiel returning from suspension to come in for Josh Davison.

The returning Bugiel showed some neat touches in the opening minutes of the game, with one particular bit of skills catching the eye as he clipped the ball over the head of an oncoming Gills defender.

Up the other end Isaac Ogundere had to be alert as he snuffed out a lofted ball over the top to dribble the ball to safety. It was the in-form Jake Reeves who had our first shot of the evening just prior to the 20th minute mark, however his long range effort was comfortably off target.

Quick thinking from a Jack Currie throw-in saw Bugiel get to the byline, however no one could quite connect with his dangerous low cross. There was then another half chance as we approached half-time, with Armani Little firing wide under heavy pressure.

After a half of promise the Dons would be looking to add that final golden touch to their opportunities in the second 45 minutes.

Connor Lemonheigh-Evans looked to take the game by the scruff of the neck as he burst down the left-hand side only to see his cross cut out as we sought that all important successful final ball.

Gillingham had their first meaningful shot of the night just past the hour mark when Connor Mahoney fired wildly off target under pressure from Currie.

Then came a moment that no one could have predicted as the floodlights went out at Priestfield, leading to a period of uncertainty due to a power cut in the local area.

Play resumed after a period of 20 minutes as both sides looked to re-find their levels of intensity following the unexpected break in play.

It was the Dons who started the brighter just as 24 minutes of added time were signalled, with Bugiel almost meeting a hoisted ball before the hosts scrambled clear. Josh Neufville was then introduced in place of James Tilley for the final 20 or so minutes.

Wimbledon created our best opening of the evening shortly after as Al-Hamadi cannoned off target following a great driving run by Bugiel.

Gills substitute George Lapslie seemingly had only Alex Bass to beat but he could only head into the arms of our goalkeeper. Al-Hamadi then repeated the trick at the other end as we continued to wait for an opening goal.

Our number 10 then came even closer as he cut inside onto his left foot and struck the inside of the post. It was the hosts who snuck ahead however, with Conor Masterson heading into the far corner from a lofted free-kick.

In response Davison, Aron Sasu and James Ball came on to bring more freshness to the end of the proceedings, however it was too little too late as the hosts held on for the three points.

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

Attendance: 5,747 (548 away)

PICS: Stephen Flynn (Pro Sports Images)

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