Tag Archives: Kieran Djilali

The Anonymous Don’s Summer Squad Preview Part IV – Forwards

Just when you thought I’d forgotten… ok, I actually had forgotten. With no Kedwell and no Mo the front line is looking very different to last season, but the delay in previewing has already seen a promising start…


I’ll admit to being a little confused by Charlie Boy’s arrival… surely not a replacement for Kedwell, maybe someone to give us more options from the bench after Mo’s departure… but it turned out Charlie Ademeno is looking like becoming a more than decent player in his own right. Not that we should have expected any different – remembering Grimsby fans commenting on the move, none of them questioned his ability, they just seemed a little miffed they didn’t see more of him on the pitch due to his injury records.

The length of time he spent on the sidelines went a long way to ensuring Grimsby allowed him to leave half way through a two-year contract, this a player they paid a five-figure sum for less than a year earlier. It also means Charlie has a contract built towards protecting the club should he spend most of the season on the treatment table, and means should he stay free of injury and score goals for us, TB might just have picked up the League Two bargain of the season.

While not the biggest forward, he uses his enormous strength to protect the ball and hold possession and bring others into play… which is the one aspect of Kedwell’s game I thought we would have most difficulty replacing. Unlike Kedwell, I’m not sure Charlie will be the most prolific of forwards, but that’s just going on his previous record – if he starts scoring on top of that it’ll be a nice bonus.


Is he a forward, is he a winger, or is he a full back? Well, to be honest we probably won’t see him very much in any of those positions this term, having fallen out of favour after a spell of indifferent form at the start of the year, allowing TB to bring Luke Moore back into the starting lineup. Yet although the O/S lists him as a defender, we’ve seen far more of him in an attacking role at first team level.

It’s a big season for Ryan, stepping up to the Football League. On his game last season his pace and direct running made him a handful for any Conference defence… the problem being when not performing to those levels he became a bit of a passenger. He hasn’t come close to getting game time in our early fixtures, which is a worry… I hate writing off young players, but I have to admit Ryan is one who I can’t see being with us this time next year.


The newest of the bunch, by all accounts a forward with plenty of pace and promise. Experience further up the leagues with Crystal Palace gives him a head start over some of our other younger forwards, the only slight worry being sometimes dropping down the divisions signals the beginning of a career slide for young players. Alternatively taking a step back is sometimes the only way to take two forwards, and if Djilali puts in even half the effort he did on his debut (still not fully fit, remember…) he won’t have any worries on the career front. We only have about an hour of football to judge him on so far, so I won’t, what I will say is his arrival gives us options…


Having already made the step up from county football to Ryman in a season, then from Ryman to Conference Premier a year later, Christian Jolley now finds himself playing in the Football League. Given the steep career curve Jolley has taken, an outside observer might expect him to suffer in the same manner Ryan Jackson is… in other words struggle for a contract next season.

But no… Christian has continued where he left off at the end of last season – not starting games, admittedly, but causing chaos and frightening the life out of League Two defenses as an impact substitute. Jolley has become something of a fan favourite thanks to his pacy, direct game, and we shouldn’t discount him having a run of starts (and hopefully goals) at some stage during the campaign.

And yet he is still young and inexperienced… still learning lessons. He will be inconsistent – one minute unplayable, the next fans forgetting he was even on the field. But once he gets over that, we could end up with some player on our hands…


With Kedwell having departed, I think a few of us were hoping Jack Midson would be the new Danny Kedwell, but have been proved wrong just a couple of weeks into the new season… it turns out Jack Midson is doing just fine being Jack Midson, and us Dons could find ourselves better off for it.

I can see Midson being as much of a hit with Wimbledon supporters as Kedwell was. We can already see for ourselves the qualities he’ll bring to the side… An eye for goal speaks for itself with four goals already, but bravery? Staples in a head wound that would have put lesser players out of the game at Dagenham. Plus we are already seeing plenty of positive comments praising his high work rate – Dons fans would forgive him for not being the twenty goal a season hitman if his hard work creates goals for other players.


I’ve always been a big fan of Luke, a tricky and intelligent forward who gets his fair share of goals but creates so much more for others. In fact I mentioned at the start of the campaign this could be a career season for Luke, providing he steers clear of injury. And what a start he made, showing everyone just what he is capable with a mazy run and finish at Crawley.

His goal tally might be boosted a little by the fact he appears to be our penalty taker this term, perhaps thanks to his nerveless penalty at Eastlands. Looks best when positioned behind a front two, like all our forwards he actually does an awful lot of work tracking back, not afraid to put in a challenge or two to win the ball back – definitely a Terry Brown player, a key member of the squad and the sort of player who, if he sticks around, will come in very handy if we find ourselves pushing for promotion in a couple of years time.

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AFC Wimbledon 3 Port Vale 2 3/9/11 – A Match Report

Sometimes you’re better off not worrying about post-game analysis and just marvel at the game of football you’ve just watched, and yesterdays game falls easily into that category. I’d actually go further and nominate it as one of the best games we’ve seen in the AFC era. We’ve seen some outstanding entertainment over the years, the 5-4 victory over Walton Casuals in the CCL Cup, Horsham in the First Ryman One season, last seasons victory at Eastbourne to name just three – but pound for pound, considering the level of football, yesterday’s game might just trump them all.

As with many high scoring epics, the entertainment levels were partly down to a clash of failings rather than anything… this was the Dons wet tissue defense and frequently absent midfield up against a Port Vale side that started like a train but flagged badly towards the end, whose ability to create chances at will was sadly balanced against their profligacy in front of goal.

We’ve all watched football long enough to know a Dons victory was written in stone as soon as Vale had their umpteenth effort cleared off the line or struck woodwork, we’ve seen it happen to the Dons enough time over the years… And if it wasn’t enough that our debut forward, who wouldn’t have started had Charlie Ademeno not been injured in the warm up, then went on to win the penalty for our opening goal; we then watch as a player who wasn’t even in the squad to start with – who wouldn’t even have been named on the bench had Port Vale not given their approval for the team sheet to be changed – comes off the bench and grabs the winner deep into stoppage time.

After last weeks dire performance at Macclesfield, there was much talk of hard work on the training ground to ensure there wouldn’t be a repeat performance this week, but judging by the first twenty minutes or so you would have thought the squad had taken a week off training altogether… Ok, I know the injury to Ademeno in the warm up meant a slight change in formation, and this probably threw them slightly, but these are still professionals, they should still be capable of adapting at short notice.

The Dons defensive deficiencies detracts slightly from some of Port Vale’s irresistible forward play in the first half, not too many League Two defences would have an answer for some of those moves. In fact our two full backs deserve credit for their heroics on the line, both Hatton and Gwillim preventing certain goals in what was an opening period where last-ditch defending kept Wimbledon in the contest.

I won’t go into detail over what happened… if you didn’t see the Football League Show last night the extended highlights on the BBC website tomorrow should do you, if not the OS report is always more detailed than mine ever are. A few comments thought…

Firstly, our performance yesterday and so far this season, coupled with TB’s post match remarks, reveal our defensive problems won’t be solved overnight, so we’ll have to get used to either winning games 3-2 or losing 0-4 for the next couple of months or so. To be fair, we can’t possibly get much worse than we were yesterday, but I can see the Dons becoming a neutrals favourite this season… there will be goals at either end, and plenty of them.

Under those circumstances it’s fortunate we’re scoring goals, and a great deal of credit must go to Jack Midson for that. After the start he’s had at the club, dare we believe he might actually be better than Kedwell? He’s certainly had a decent start that’s for sure, and is the sort of player who just won’t go wrong as far as either the fans or TB is concerned. His work rate and determination is just unreal, one example of this was seeing him chase down a ball he seemed to have no chance of winning, getting a block in, then getting up and winning a footrace to the loose ball to create an oportunity out of nothing.

On top of this the five goals he’s chipped in almost seems like a bonus. His finish yesterday was an example of his eye for goal, easy in one respect with the keeper getting up following his penalty save, but it bounced awkwardly and Midson had to get over the top of it to avoid ballooning it over. We can only hope he continues both form, you get the impression if he can keep up those levels of work rate the goals will follow naturally.

New signing Kieran Djilali had a decent debut, its good to see someone willing to get the ball down and run at defences. He showed great composure to win the penalty, we’ve seen Dons players get in that sort of position only for them to shoot and either miss or their effort is smothered, Djilali did well to take it round the keeper knowing he was going to bring him down. A little early in the day to tell just how good he’s going to be but so far, so good.

The arrival of Christian Jolley at half time swung the game in our favour. We might be better off telling him he’s not going to play every week, this was probably his best forty-five minutes in a Dons shirt. Again, we expect him to be a little inconsistent as a young player just beginning his League career, but as an impact substitute I don’t think there’ll be a defence in the division that could hold him on his day. He pretty much had the Port Vale left back on a leash as soon as he came on the pitch, could have made the game safe at 2-1 with another mazy run, and showed great composure with his finish – hard to believe it was his first League goal.

Jolley has come so far in such a short space of time it would have been understandable had he needed a little time to come to terms with the higher level, but he seems to have so much confidence in himself you wonder whether League Two will be enough for him… Having come so far in such a short space of time, who’s to say he won’t continue his astounding career progress and leave us behind in the not too distant future?

(Strange that after such a poor defensive display I chose to highlight forwards, but as I said at the start sometimes you’re better off not worrying!)

We saw some memorable scenes at the final whistle… this was the first time many Dons fans had seen their side win in the Football League, remember, and even for those of us who had it’s all a little new… plus you don’t want to start getting deep into September/October without winning at home, it creates unwanted psychological problems that we were all more than aware of.

Ten points in the bag despite still finding ourselves dogged by inconsistency means we probably won’t have any problems this season, and can afford a few defeats while TB searches for the answer to our defensive problems. Yet knowing in advance we’re going to take some hammerings, and actually having to watch them, are two different things. We have a big derby game coming up next week against opponents we have bust a gut to chase up the pyramid, how sickening now we’ve caught them and play them as equals would it be if they thumped us?

Derby games are different animals however, and with TB heading back to his former club for the first time he’ll want to use this free week ahead to ensure we’re at least competitive next week…

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