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Jake leads the victory charge into FA Cup third round

Dons secure home date versus Ipswich in next round

4 December 2023

Club News

Jake leads the victory charge into FA Cup third round

Dons secure home date versus Ipswich in next round

4 December 2023

AFC Wimbledon earned a place in the third round of the Emirates FA Cup with an emphatic victory tonight.

In front of a crowd of 6,894 and a live TV audience, the Dons made the four-division gap to Ramsgate tell with a 5-0 win that could have been more.

Jake Reeves set the Dons on the way with a superb strike early on and that led to a straightforward victory that earned a crack at Championship high-flyers Ipswich in the next round.  

The goals are certainly flowing now at the Cherry Red Records Stadium - in the past month Cheltenham and Notts County have been hit for five and four respectively. Indeed, that's now five wins on the bounce on home turf, a far cry from earlier in the season.  

The Dons came out of the traps quickly and almost took the lead through Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, but his header from a cross flashed over the crossbar. However, the opening goal followed shortly afterwards – and what a goal to break the deadlock. Ali Al-Hamadi pounced on a loose pass out from the back before teeing up Jake Reeves with the perfect pass and our midfielder gave it the finish it deserved with a rasping drive into the back of the net. It was a goal fit to grace any stage and certainly one that deserved a national TV audience.

The opening goal was exactly what Wimbledon required in the circumstances, quelling Ramsgate’s spirit as they sought to pull off an unlikely victory against the odds. Indeed, chances followed to quickly double the advantage, firstly when Joe Lewis had a shot from close-range that Ramsgate keeper Thomas Hadler saved.

Roared on by 1,400 travelling supporters, Ramsgate attempted to hit back and they forged a few promising situations, albeit without testing Alex Bass in the Wimbledon goal. The attacking flow continued in the home side’s favour and Armani Little struck a shot just wide of the far post, but the all-important cushion of a second followed in the 25th minute. Lemonheigh-Evans, who had been too hot to handle for Ramsgate with his energy and skill down the left, found Jack Currie in space. Our left-back subsequently sent over a deep cross that Hadler could only parry into the path of Ali Al-Hamadi, who headed home from close-range.

That was Al-Hamadi’s 10th goal of the season – quite an achievement as he didn’t open his account until 30 September when his hat-trick downed Tranmere. Hadler was certainly a busy man in the first-half and he reacted well to tip wide a shot by Josh Neufville. However, there was no denying Neufville as he finished off clinically in the 43rd minute after Hadler had parried Al-Hamadi’s shot into his path.

The 3-0 scoreline was certainly a deserved one, but the whistle for half-time shrilled after a near miss for the visitors. A cross from the left picked out Tijan Jadami and a goal seemed the inevitable outcome but Alex Bass saved brilliantly from point-blank range, before Lee Martin blasted the rebound over the crossbar.

It appeared to be a straightforward passage into the third round for Wimbledon now as both sides emerged for the second-half – and the Dons wasted little time adding to the advantage. Reeves was the instigator as he picked out Lemonheigh-Evans and he did the rest with a superb finish that left Hadler with no chance in the 48th minute. With Al-Hamadi and the rest now rampant and seeking more goals, the last thing Ramsgate could afford to do was to be careless at the back, but that’s exactly what they did. After the visitors attempted to play out from the back, Al-Hamadi intervened to win possession, before striking home emphatically.

Our Iraq international had a hat-trick attempt blocked before departing the action to a standing ovation from the Dons faithful in the 63rd minute – Josh Davison replacing him up front. Lemonheigh-Evans was also denied by Hadler as Wimbledon went in search of a sixth, it was only a case of how many now.

It could have been more as substitute Davison struck a post with a fine effort, but it mattered little in the grand scheme of things as it was an excellent night's work from Wimbledon. Roll on the third round!

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

Attendance: 6,894 (1,400 away)

PICS: Stephen Flynn and Ian Stephen (Pro Sports Images)


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