Johnnie Jackson’s AFC Wimbledon put non-league Farnborough to the sword on a humid Tuesday night as Ayoub Assal guided his side to a comfortable 2-0 victory.
The bright attacking midfielder was introduced midway through the second-half and played a vital role in both goals as the Dons got back into their attacking stride.
First a well-worked move involving fellow substitutes Chris Gunter and Dylan Adjei-Hersey sent Assal clean through to slot home, before the latter was then felled in the penalty area, which allowed one of our trialists to step up and double the lead.
Overall it was a largely dominant showing from Wimbledon who certainly got back into their stride after the disappointment of defeat at Eastbourne Borough some three days earlier.
As the pre-season fixtures slowly seep away we are now getting more and more of an idea as to how the team could line-up against Gillingham on the 30 July.
Jackson plucked for a 3-4-3 formation ahead of the game, with the likes of Luke McCormick, Paul Kalambayi and Nathan Broome coming into the starting eleven.
Both sets of fans had barely taken their seats when the first action of the game developed. The energetic Isaac Ogundere surged down the right-hand side before cutting the ball back for a trialist, but the goal-bound effort was quickly hacked clear by the Farnborough backline.
Broome was then called into a notable save for the first time as he denied a cross-come-shot at his near post.
George Marsh was next to go close for the Dons, with his looping header from outside the area forcing ex-Wimbledon keeper Jack Turner into an unorthodox clearance.
All of our best play was flowing through McCormick and Ethan Chislett, whilst Ogundere and Jack Currie continuously threatened from the wing-back positions.
The chances were coming at will, with Alex Pearce being next to go close with a header that drifted wide before Chislett’s lofted through ball was just too far in front of the onrushing McCormick.
It was an entertaining first-half to say the least, but alas a breakthrough wasn’t found as the two sides trooped in at the break.
A raft of changes were made around the 70 minute mark as the Dons sought an opening goal, with the likes of Gunter, Assal and Adjei-Hersey being introduced.
And it was the second of the aforementioned three players who would go on to break the deadlock as Assal sprinted clear following good work by his fellow substitutes to side-foot home.
It was very nearly 2-0 soon after with a trialist taking aim from long range, but the resulting effort struck the crossbar.
However the Dons wouldn’t be denied a second time as they doubled their lead from the penalty spot. Assal was once again involved as he drew the foul before a trialist sent Turner the wrong way.
The two goals proved to be more than enough in the end as Wimbledon walked away with a well deserved victory on the road.
AFC Wimbledon: Nathan Broome, Will Nightingale (Chris Gunter), George Marsh (Kwaku Frimpong), Trialist (Trialist), Ethan Chislett (Ayoub Assal), Alex Pearce (Ethan Sutcliffe), Jack Currie (Dylan Adeji-Hersey), Trialist (Trialist), Isaac Ogundere (Trialist), Luke McCormick (Alfie Bendle), Paul Kalambayi (Luke Jenkins)
PICS: Lucy Dixon