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Match Reports

Dons’ treble sees off Saddlers

A deserved victory at the Poundland Bescot Stadium

23 September 2023

AFC Wimbledon extended our unbeaten away record as we emerged as 3-1 winners over 10-man Walsall.

It was a day of firsts as Connor Evans, Jack Currie and Ali Al-Hamadi all bagged their first goals of the campaign as we showcased our clinical edge in front of goal once more.

Of course the result was aided by Walsall seeing a man sent off but make no mistake, this was a ruthless showing from a Wimbledon side which has a real hunger to achieve something this season.

In the end it was a clam and controlled performance as we got right back on track and continued our early momentum.

Johnnie Jackson made three changes to the side which drew 2-2 with Crewe Alexandra as both Jake Reeves and Armani Little returned from injury whilst Evans was handed his first start in a Wimbledon shirt. This saw James Tilley, James Ball and Charlie Lakin all drop out of the starting eleven.

As has been the theme with the majority of our games this season, we started on the front foot and soon had an early lead inside the opening 10 minutes. The ball fell kindly to Evans just outside the area with the winger taking it on in his stride to fire past the sprawling dive of his namesake in the Walsall goal.

The Dons appeared settled after the opener with the returning partnership of Reeves and Little bringing calmness in the centre of the park. The closest the hosts came to equalising in the first 45 minutes was an Isaac Hutchinson free-kick that rattled the crossbar.

Things got even worse for the Saddlers when Taylor Allen was shown a straight red card by referee Declan Bourne after a challenge on Omar Bugiel.

Josh Neufville and Al-Hamadi also had half chances as the two teams trooped in at the break with our side a goal ahead.

Moving into the second-half and there was more drama early on as Wimbledon were given a penalty after a Walsall handball. Little was the man to step up, however he saw his effort saved well by Owen Evans.

We were then immediately punished for passing up such a golden opportunity as Freddie Draper equalised for Walsall after being found inside the area.

The second-half rollercoaster continued not long after as we retook the lead. This time Al-Hamadi held the ball up before laying it into the path of Jack Currie who fired in low via a deflection.

We looked to press home our advantage heading into the final quarter with Al-Hamadi seeing a shot saved strongly. He wasn’t to be denied the next time he had a chance as he bagged our third of the afternoon.

Reeves picked up the ball inside his own half before pinging a pinpoint pass out to our number 10 on the right wing, who then drove inside and fired a left footed effort inside the near post.

Josh Davison was introduced off the bench and had an effort ruled out for offside in added time as we looked to add further gloss to the scoreline. We settled for three in the end as we got back to winning ways and extended our unbeaten away record.

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

Attendance: 5,318 (514 away)

PICS: Manjit Singh (Pro Sports Images)

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