Ali Al-Hamadi finally got off the mark this past weekend with the forward grabbing the third goal in AFC Wimbledon’s 3-1 away win at Walsall.
The Dons grabbed a much-needed win and climbed into eighth place in the table. They now have the best away record in the league and will want to carry that form over to Plough Lane where they have been struggling for wins so far this season, even despite their EFL Cup win against Coventry City.
On Saturday Wimbledon were in control of the League Two clash sitting 1-0 up at halftime, and a man up when Taylor Allen saw red. This looked like a first win in six games across all competitions was on the way. Even more so when they were awarded a spot kick, but the returning Armani Little missed, and shortly after Walsall levelled. This looked like a case of déjà vu as another lead was squandered.
A goal from Jack Currie settled the nerves, and then the much sought-after Iraqi international grabbed his first of the season to ensure the three points came back to southwest London.
Al-Hamadi had not been struggling for form. His all-round play has been excellent and is definitely the key to any success that Wimbledon could have this season.
It was always a case of when, not if, he would open his account for the year. Strikers often go through lean spells and can sometimes try too hard when seeking that elusive goal.
Al-Hamadi has a huge amount of confidence in his ability to score goals. That took a huge dent when he missed two penalties early in the season that cost the Dons wins and was taken off spot-kick duty. Against Sutton United, he did everything but score, and looked visibly deflated when missing an open goal from inside the six-yard box.
He is though, every part a team player. Working just as hard off the ball as on it and creating space for others. This will come from his reputation of having an eye for the goal and dragging defenders away, much to the benefit so far of James Tilley who is the club’s top scorer with seven goals in eight appearances.
On Saturday he got his reward for a display that was so typical of him. The lack of goals didn’t seem to be a worry as he busied himself in and around the box. Taking defenders on, winning his share of headers, winning corners, and taking a total of four shots.
After getting off the mark this could be the spark for a run of goals similar to the purple patch he had when he joined the club last January.
He is settled in the side after a summer in which there was a huge amount of transfer speculation, something he admitted didn’t phase him and he never took any notice of it. Should there be a flurry of goals again, those who were interested may well come knocking on manager Johnnie Jacksons’ door again.
This will be of little concern right now though as the striker looks to build off of his goal from Saturday’s win and set about helping the team improve their home form when Tranmere Rovers come to Plough Lane this coming Saturday.