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Dons turn on the style with Armani’s stunner stealing the show

A 4-0 win for in-form Wimbledon

9 December 2023

Club News

Dons turn on the style with Armani’s stunner stealing the show

A 4-0 win for in-form Wimbledon

9 December 2023

Johnnie Jackson's men produced arguably their best home performance this season with a superb overall display today.

Simply irresistible in attack, the 4-0 scoreline certainly didn't flatter Wimbledon, as Ali Al-Hamadi's double added further gloss after goals from Omar Bugiel and Armani Little.

Choosing Wimbledon's Man of the Match was a thankless task - there were so many in yellow and blue that impressed - but the goal of the game was undoubtedly scored by midfield maestro Little. He struck a barnstormer from 25 yards after a quickly-taken free-kick from Jake Reeves. Though the attacking play caught the eye, Wimbledon's defensive performance also deserves real credit as Swindon came into this game as joint highest scorers in League Two.

Though the scoreline will be cherished by Wimbledon supporters, it was the manner of this victory - a sixth successive home win in all competitions - that was so impressive. It was achieved with a real attacking swagger that offers excitement for the rest of this campaign.

Following the convincing Emirates FA Cup Third Round win versus Ramsgate, Johnnie Jackson decided to select an unchanged starting line-up. With Swindon coming into this game in-form and boasting the talents of Jake Young - newly crowned League Two Player of the Month – they were sure to provide a much sterner test than we faced against Ramsgate. However, the Dons started on the front foot with Swindon pushed back from the outset and an early penalty appeal followed after Ali Al-Hamadi was challenged in the box, but the referee deemed it a fair challenge.

Our Iraq international came so close to breaking the deadlock with a header that was well saved by Swindon keeper Murphy Mahoney. There was not long to wait for the opening goal though – Wimbledon taking the lead in the sixth minute. After a corner was only half cleared, Joe Lewis crossed from the right and Omar Bugiel showed swift movement to meet the ball at the near post, before smartly steering the ball past Mahoney from close range.

There was simply no let-up from the Dons after taking the lead. With Jack Currie’s relentless runs down the left causing problems to the visitors, the pressure was cranked up with threats from all angles. Bugiel twice showed his creative side after scoring – on both occasions setting up chances for Connor Lemonheigh-Evans. First, the on-loan Stockport midfielder shot just wide, and then he came even closer with a shot that struck the inside of a post before bouncing to safety.

It was all Wimbledon in the first half hour, Swindon barely getting out of their own half in response, and Al-Hamadi’s trademark skill and movement in attack was once again causing problems. The pacy striker almost scored a fine solo goal after powering through on goal, but Mahoney responded well to deny him. The Dons had certainly produced a highly entertaining first half hour with a performance full of attacking intent – an approach that had the home faithful on the edge of their seats. However, Swindon started to come into it after the first third of this match and they squandered a great chance to equalise when a quick break ended with Daniel Kemp’s cross finding Young in the box, but he shot over the crossbar.

Though Swindon improved as the first-half progressed, Wimbledon maintained a good defensive shape with Lewis and Ryan Johnson in defiant mood at the heart of it, and the half-time lead was certainly merited based on that swashbuckling display in the first half hour. Recapturing that attacking flow would perhaps be needed in the second-half as Swindon had shown glimpses of the form that had seen them plunder 43 league goals so far this season.

And that was certainly highlighted in the very first minute after the restart when Liam Kinsella cut inside from the right and unleashed a shot that struck a post. That was certainly a relief for all in yellow and blue, but the important thing was that Wimbledon stayed resolute to prevent Swindon from building on that. Then there was almost a second goal to celebrate 10 minutes into the second-half when Lemonheigh-Evans found space in the box and struck a fine effort that Mahoney saved superbly.

There was no stopping Wimbledon on the hour though – and it was a goal well worth waiting for. After Lemonheigh-Evans had won a free-kick, Jake Reeves showed quick thinking to take Swindon off guard and Armani Little gave it the finish it deserved with a powerful drive that left Mahoney with no chance. It was a goal fit to grace any stage – and the jubilation that greeted the ball hitting the back of the net summed it up.

Far from resting on their laurels, Wimbledon probed for a third goal and it almost arrived when Al-Hamadi marched through on goal, but his shot was well saved by Mahoney. There was simply no stopping the Dons with 11 minutes to play though. Substitute Harry Pell provided the assist with one of his first touches, finding Al-Hamadi, who finished superbly.

It was game over, but there was still more to come. Al-Hamadi struck his 13th goal of the season in all competitions after a fine pass by another substitute - Josh Davison - to put the icing on the cake after another impressive Wimbledon performance.

Based on this display, which puts the Dons into the play-off places, anything could be possible this season. 

AFC Wimbledon: Alex Bass, Hus Biler, Jake Reeves, Ryan Johnson, Ali Al-Hamadi, Josh Neufville, (Josh Davison) Armani Little, Omar Bugiel (Harry Pell), Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, Jack Currie, Joe Lewis.

Att: 8,275 (1,200 away)

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