Ahead of the game, Nigel Adkins said, “I’ve found very quickly that every game in League Two is going to be a challenge because people set up now instead of being a traditional way of playing, there’s a lot of teams who are a lot more flexible, there’s a lot of real bright coaches out there, for example the Wimbledon manager, Johnnie Jackson.
“When I went in at Charlton, Johnnie was assistant to me. When you talk about how quickly we can get messages across to teams, sometimes you need a longer period of time and Johnnie’s obviously been in there now for over a year so how he wants to play, he has been able to have that message coming across.
“They’ve recruited well, they’ve got massive threats. So we’re under no illusions, this is going to be a real challenging game, but one we’re looking forward to.”
Ali Al-Hamadi scored a hat-trick as AFC Wimbledon secured their first home victory of the League Two campaign, staging a comeback to convincingly defeat Tranmere Rovers.
Nigel Adkins selected an unchanged starting eleven from the previous week’s triumph against Accrington Stanley, and the sole modification to the squad was Lee O’Connor’s return to the bench, replacing the injured Chris Merrie.
Right from the outset, Rovers displayed their attacking intent, with Sam Taylor narrowly missing the target with his shot, delivered by a Josh Hawkes cross, just two minutes into the match.
Tranmere swiftly seized the advantage, as Connor Jennings converted a corner kick to propel his team into the lead a mere four minutes into the encounter.
Rovers’ supporters took part in a one-minute applause tribute during the 15th minute, honouring the young girl who tragically lost her life in a devastating incident on the M53 the day before.
AFC Wimbledon drew level in the 21st minute when Armani Little’s shot took a deflection, eluding Luke McGee’s reach.
The home side applied continuous pressure over the subsequent ten minutes, but resolute defending by Rovers and crucial saves by McGee thwarted their efforts until the 32nd minute, when Ali Al-Hamadi was released one-on-one with the goalkeeper, propelling Wimbledon into the lead.
Wimbledon persisted in their attacking efforts and ultimately carried a one-goal advantage into the halftime interval.
At the break, Rovers introduced two substitutions, with Harvey Saunders and Kieron Morris coming on for Sam Taylor and Brad Walker.
Jordan Turnbull received a red card in the 53rd minute for a foul committed on the halfway line.
Wimbledon extended their lead in the 62nd minute, with Al-Hamadi netting his second goal of the match.
Late in the game, Al-Hamadi completed his hat-trick, securing a 4-1 victory for Wimbledon.