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A look at the opposition: AFC Wimbledon

10 November 2023

Club News

A look at the opposition: AFC Wimbledon

10 November 2023

AFC Wimbledon are set to welcome Rovers in the return to Sky Bet League Two action this weekend.

Having been the first opposition team to play a competitive game at the new Plough Lane in 2020, Rovers return for a fourth visit in a fixture that has guaranteed goals in the past. 

The three previous matches between the sides at the venue have all ended 2-2, including last season’s dramatic stoppage time comeback for Rovers. 

Hosts Wimbledon currently sit 11th in League Two, having taken just two points from their last five matches – a run which followed three consecutive victories. 

LAST TIME OUT  

AFC Wimbledon 5 Cheltenham Town 1 

Emirates FA Cup First Round, Saturday, November 4, 2023 

Line up: Bass, Currie, Pearce, Lewis, Biler (Ogundere 86), Lemonheigh-Evans (Sasu 86), Little (Ball 87), Reeves, Tilley (Jennings 90), Bugiel (Davison 62), Al-Hamadi. 

THE MANAGER 

Former Charlton Athletic midfielder Johnnie Jackson was named Wimbledon manager in May 2022 following a spell in charge of the Addicks. 

After coming through the ranks at Tottenham Hotspur as a player, Jackson played in the Championship with Colchester United and won promotion from League Two with Notts County before embarking on an eight-year, 279 appearance spell at Charlton, which included winning the League One title. 

THE KEY MEN 

Goalkeeper: Alex Bass 

Sunderland loanee Bass came through the youth system at Portsmouth and made his Pompey debut in the EFL Cup against Coventry City in August 2016. 

Notable loan spells at Salisbury and Bradford City followed before a permanent move north to the Black Cats where he is yet to play. 

Defender: Alex Pearce 

Veteran centre-half Pearce came through the ranks at Reading and went on to play over 200 times for the Royals after loan spells across the south of England. 

He moved on to Derby County in 2015 but struggled for game time and left for Millwall before arriving at the Dons in 2022 as a free agent. 

In the middle: Jake Reeves 

Former Spurs and Brentford youth team player Reeves made over 30 appearances for the Bees and 10 for Swindon Town before arriving at Wimbledon for his first permanent spell in 2015. 

He helped the club to League Two play-off success in 2016 before moving on to Bradford City a year later. Since then Reeves has played for Notts County and Stevenage before returning to SW17 this summer. 

Up top: Ali Al-Hamadi 

Iraqi international striker Al-Hamadi is enjoying life at Wimbledon after making the switch over from London rivals Wycombe Wanderers last season. 

He only played nine times for the Chairboys and spent time out on loan with Bromley before joining the Dons where he has scored 15 times in 36 appearances for the club. 

HEAD-TO-HEAD 

Rovers first met the reformed AFC Wimbledon in the 2017/18 League One season and fell to a 2-0 loss at Kingsmeadow. In the return fixture, Rovers were held to a goalless draw. 

The head-to-head record sees a tie for the most amount of victories with each side winning on four occasions and the other five meetings ending in draws. 

The last meeting between the two sides resulted in a 2-1 Rovers win at the Eco-Power Stadium as goals from Harrison Biggins and George Miller saw off the Dons in March.  

TURNED OUT FOR BOTH 

Both sides enjoyed the services of legendary goalkeeper Neil Sullivan between 1988 and 2013. 

The Scotsman started his career at Wimbledon and made 181 appearances for the side over 12 years and was between the sticks at Selhurst Park for that David Beckham goal from the half-way line. 

After winning the 2001 Player of the Year at Tottenham Hotspur and spells at Chelsea and Leeds United, he moved to Rovers in 2006. Over the next seven years he played 200 times for Rovers and won the EFL Trophy as well as two League One promotions. 

Towards the end of his career, he returned to the reformed Wimbledon and played 20 times on loan before retiring in 2013. 

Contributor: Jefferson Hall-Nolan

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