BY CONOR KEENAN
AFC Wimbledon manager Johnnie Jackson believes his side “could have had scored double figures” in a dominant 5-1 victory over League One Cheltenham Town in the first round proper of the FA Cup.
Goals from Ali Al Hamadi, Connor Evans, substitute Josh Davison and two from winger James Tilley made it a memorable FA Cup win for the Dons in what was a dominant performance from Jackson’s side.
“It’s right up there with the best performances we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Jackson.
“We scored five and I think we could’ve had five more. I don’t think that’s unfair to say, and we limited them to very little.
This is a team from a higher division and OK, they’ve been struggling a little but they aren’t mugs and they came into today in good form, so it was a tough test for us.”
“The way we played today, we would’ve caused a lot of good teams problems and that’s what we did today.”
Jackson handed youth academy starlet Kai Jennings his senior debut late in the game and confirmed the midfielder would be involved in The Dons’ EFL Trophy fixtures against Crystal Palace U21s on Tuesday night.
“I’m delighted for him. I was just congratulating him in the changing room after the game where I said to him that it wasn’t a gift.
“I was here for the Youth Cup game on Tuesday and we’ve watched him this and last season and every time he trains with us he always impresses.
“I wouldn’t give away that opportunity if the lad didn’t deserve it – I would imagine he’ll be involved on Tuesday.”
Following another dominant performance from star striker Ali Al Hamadi, Jackson swept away speculation over the Iraqi international’s future following speculation that Leeds United could make a move for the forward in January, reemphasising he is under no pressure from the club to sell in the winter transfer window.
“Nothing’s changed,” added Jackson.
“Ali’s our player and he loves being here, you can see that today. He’s fully immersed in what we’re doing, he got his goal and the performance was spot on.
“There’s no pressure on me to sell him or replace him whatsoever. We want to come out of the January window stronger, we’ve always said that and that involves Ali being at the football club.”
PICTURES: LUCY DIXON
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