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Club News

Since we last met: AFC Wimbledon

23 February 2024

Club News

Since we last met: AFC Wimbledon

23 February 2024

Rovers are back at the Eco-Power Stadium to host AFC Wimbledon as they look to maintain their positive run of recent form.

Wimbledon are seeking to rediscover a positive run of their own in a bid to revive their play-off aspirations but face a Rovers side unbeaten in four.


It was Wimbledon who took the honours when Rovers visited Plough Lane in November, with the hosts running out 2-0 winners.

Two goals for Iraq international Ali Al Hamadi - who joined Ipswich Town in January - did the damage for the hosts in a game of few chances and ended with Wimbledon reduced to nine men after the dismissals of Hus Biler and Omar Bugiel for two bookable offences.

Rovers struggled for sustained possession throughout and crafted few moments of threat on a difficult afternoon in south west London.


Wimbledon have endured a run of inconsistent form since the turn of the year which has threatened their hopes of securing a top seven finish in Sky Bet League Two. 

But despite winning just two of their nine league matches in 2024, they remain just a single point outside the play-off places – and those two triumphs came against automatic promotion chasing pair Mansfield Town and Barrow, showing what they are capable of. 

They arrive at the Eco-Power Stadium having not won in three and suffered defeat at home to Crawley Town in midweek.


AFC Wimbledon 0 Crawley Town 1

Sky Bet League Two, Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Line-up: Bass, Ogundere, Balmer (Pearce 40), Brown, Currie, Ball (Reeves 66), Little, Tilley, Bugiel (Pell 84), Kelly (Gordon 66), Davison (Curtis 67). Subs not used: Tzanev, O’Toole.


Johnnie Jackson has been in charge at Plough Lane since May 2022 with the goal of returning Wimbledon to League One. 

Still in the infancy of his managerial career, the 41-year-old was handed his first permanent job in December 2021 at Charlton Athletic, where he had established himself as a club legend after joining as a player in 2010. 

Jackson started his playing career at Tottenham Hotspur and made 20 Premier League appearances with spells at Colchester United and Notts County coming before arriving at Charlton. 


Goalkeeper – Alex Bass 

The 25-year-old has been an ever-present for Wimbledon in League Two this season, keeping 11 clean sheets in the process. Bass is on loan from Sunderland, whom he joined from Portsmouth in 2022. During his time at Fratton Park, he was often on the bench and had loan spells with a number of clubs, including Southend United and Bradford City. 

Defender – Kofi Balmer 

A January arrival on loan from Crystal Palace, the 23-year-old from Northern Ireland has started every game at centre half since then for Wimbledon. Balmer spent the first half of the season on loan in League One with Port Vale, where he made 16 appearances. His senior debut came at 16 with Ballymena in his homeland before joining Larne. 

Midfielder – Armani Little 

The 26-year-old initially joined Wimbledon on loan from Forest Green Rovers last January, with the deal made permanent last summer. This season has brought four goals in 36 appearances from central midfield and Little has captained the side in recent weeks. After graduating from the Southampton Academy, he enjoyed spells with Oxford United and Torquay United. 

Striker – Omar Bugiel 

The Germany-born forward recently returned from the Asia Cup having represented Lebanon, for whom he is eligible through his father. The 30-year-old joined Wimbledon last summer after leaving Sutton United, where he spent four seasons and made more than 150 appearances. Bugiel has netted eight goals in 37 appearances so far this season. 


The storied history of the club known as AFC Wimbledon began in 2002 following the decision of a FA panel to permit the original Wimbledon club to be relocated and rebranded in Milton Keynes.  

Fuelled by fury and a determination to restore league football to the area, a club was formed by supporters, beginning a remarkable journey that started in the Combined Counties League before a return to the EFL in 2011 with a win over Luton Town in the Conference promotion final.  

Promotion to League One and a return to Plough Lane in a brand-new stadium has followed since in what has been a tremendous story.  

Rovers’ first meeting with AFC Wimbledon came in the 2017/18 at their temporary Kingsmeadow home, with the hosts taking a 2-0 triumph before a goalless game in the return fixture.  

Rovers triumphed 2-1 at the Eco-Power Stadium last season with George Miller and Harrison Biggins finding the net. 


Goalkeeper Neil Sullivan represented both clubs. Having spent 12 years with the original Wimbledon – his first professional club – he was loaned to AFC during the 2012/13 campaign before being recalled to Rovers for the final few matches of the season, including the dramatic final day triumph at Brentford that saw the club claim the League One title.

Contributors: John Coyle and Gavin Hepworth

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