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Ali delivers a masterclass with Corky watching on!

An impressive all-round team display from the Dons

11 November 2023

Club News

Ali delivers a masterclass with Corky watching on!

An impressive all-round team display from the Dons

11 November 2023

AFC Wimbledon secured a first league home win since 30 September with Ali Al-Hamadi leading the victory charge.

Indeed, it was a striking display that the watching Alan Cork - scorer of 145 goals for Wimbledon - would have been proud of during his prolific best in the 1980s.

Even more importantly, the Dons showed a steely resolve to earn the 2-0 win - ultimately achieved in comfortable fashion - despite ending the game with nine men. That scenario came about after Huseyin Biler was shown a red card 18 minutes from time and Omar Bugiel was also dismissed in injury-time.

In the grand scheme of things, the sendings off mattered little as the Dons made it three successive victories in all competitions with a performance that hinted at exciting times ahead for this season. Indeed, this match was everything a Dons fans would want from the Plough Lane experience with over 8,000 mostly Dons fans buoyed by a display full of attacking verve - the reception after the final whistle summing up the mood.

Following victories on home turf in the FA Cup and the Bristol Street Motors Trophy, Johnnie Jackson had stressed the importance of securing a league victory at our stadium – the Dons having not achieved this since 30 September.

With this in mind, it was no surprise that our manager decided to select the same starting 11 as a week ago when Cheltenham were defeated 5-1. Both sides started the game with plenty of attacking intent, but with a lack of end product and neither team had created a chance in the first half an hour.

Modou Faal was a threat for the visitors and right-back Huseyin Biler had to show real awareness to get in a timely tackle through the centre when the Donny dangerman threatened to get in on goal. At the other end, Connor Lemonheigh Evans was a bright spark early on, showing his attacking qualities down the left, but Doncaster offered stubborn resistance. Whenever Omar Bugiel or Ali Al-Hamadi got a sniff of getting through on goal, a last-ditch tackle followed. Superb play by James Tilley on the right almost put Al-Hamadi through, but he was just unable to get the ball under control.

As we approached half-time, the pattern of this game had been set – the men in yellow and blue playing some eye-catching football outside the box but unable to really get behind a well-drilled Donny defence. However, a set-piece on the stroke of half-time yielded the all-important breakthrough. It was deep into first-half injury time when James Tilley delivered a fantastic corner from the left that Joe Lewis did so well to divert back across goal and Ali Al-Hamadi was in the right place to steer home. That signalled jubilant scenes amongst fans and players, most notably from Lewis as he celebrated his assist as if he had scored himself!

Though Wimbledon’s attack had struggled to really click into gear, Johnnie’s men certainly deserved the half-time lead after dominating possession and limiting Doncaster to very little.

The Dons continued to be on the front foot at the start of the second-half and it was no surprise when a second goal arrived in the 63rd minute. The name of the goalscorer was even less of a surprise – that man Al-Hamadi. Our Iraq international pounced on a loose ball, before powering through and unleashing a thunderous drive that left Doncaster keeper Louis Jones with no chance. With the Dons faithful now raising the decibel levels around the Cherry Red Records Stadium, Al-Hamadi sensed a repeat of his Tranmere exploits and another hat-trick. He almost got through on goal again, but this time Doncaster were equal to the challenge of stopping him.

However, there was an incident in the 72nd minute that threatened to derail the victory charge with Huseyin Biler’s late challenge resulting in a second yellow card and an early bath. All of a sudden, the visitors sensed that there might still be something in this game for them and the Dons were forced into a rearguard action.

The Dons showed what they were made of after that setback, digging in resolutely with Joe Lewis and Alex Pearce marshalling the defence brilliantly. Another three points has Wimbledon flying high in League Two - and certainly in the mood to stay there on the basis of this impressive all-round display.

AFC Wimbledon: Alex Bass, Huseyin Biler, Jake Reeves, James Tilley (Isaac Ogundere), Ali Al-Hamadi (Josh Neufville), Armani Little, Alex Pearce, Omar Bugiel, Connor Lemonheigh-Evans (Charlie Lakin), Jack Currie, Joe Lewis.

Att: 8,013 (794 away fans)  


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