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Kick off 12:30 (UK)

18 November 2023 Venue Adams Park Attendance

Kick off 12:30 (UK)

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Match Previews

Terry hints at chances for promising youngsters

Team news ahead of Saturday’s early start

17 November 2023

Terry Skiverton has hinted that there could be opportunities for some of our latest crop of talented youngsters, as we aim to top our group in the early kick-off at Wycombe Wanderers tomorrow.

League One Wycombe sit in pole position with ourselves just a point behind ahead of the final match in Southern Group C, of the Bristol Street Motors Trophy, to be played at Adams Park with a 12.30pm start.

“We’ve had a couple of young ones come over and train with us this week. They’ve done really well, so watch this space,” said Terry after Friday’s final training session in New Malden.

“We’re mindful that we’ve got the FA Youth Cup game at home to Stevenage next week. If the Wycombe game would have been on the Tuesday, as originally planned, we probably would have had less of the younger players.

“However, now the first team are playing tomorrow, they’ve got a bit more time to recover before the Youth Cup tie next Thursday at Plough Lane. So, there maybe one or two that travel with the squad on Saturday.”

You can listen to the full interview with Assistant Manager Terry Skiverton and a summary of the key points below.

Terry, I guess it made sense really to switch the game to Saturday because it keeps us in a routine?

It’s really good because we want to keep the momentum going. The lads are on the front foot, enjoying coming into work and you want that Saturday buzz around the group. As soon as it was mentioned to the players, they were all up for it. It would have either been a training session or a game and the lads want to get out there and play.

There’s a bit of spice about it as well, involving a battle to top the group and we're likely to be up against a familiar face to our fans - Wycombe’s recent signing Lyle Taylor!

Yes, I think that he’ll be playing some minutes. They’ll be looking to get him into some action, having had some injuries as well.

There’s a lot to play for. It’s an important competition. I’ve got to the quarter-finals previously with Charlton and last season we made the last 16, before going out at Plymouth. It is one of our priorities as it’s a chance to get to Wembley. Whoever tops the group gets a home draw in the next round I think, so it’s really important we go out there and win the game.

PSI_AFC_Wimbledon_v_Plymouth_Argyle_30thMay16_GH_2447 Taylor 16.9.JPG

Of course, it could have meant Ali Al-Hamadi going back to Wycombe with us, but he’s doing rather well for Iraq in the World Cup qualifiers.

That’s right, but I’ll be going back to Wycombe! That was one of my clubs as a player. It’s a great stadium and a great club and there are great people who work behind the scenes there. I always like the sort of stories, similar to our own, where a club starts out in non-league football, and they become an established league club. We’ve done that here at Wimbledon as well. Hopefully, we get some travelling support to really get behind the boys.

How has training gone this week?

We had to make sure the fixture change was conducive, not just for this weekend but with one eye also on the league game at home to Notts County the following week.

This game has fitted in really nicely now and the lads are really looking forward to it after three magnificent performances at home in a week. We want to keep that going on the road now and then come back in good spirits and keep that momentum going.

Have you got fitness updates on two midfielders – James Ball and Harry Pell?

Bally has been back in training. Pelly is not quite there yet, but he has been out there on the grass. It’s good news concerning those two, but I think Bally will be up for selection this weekend.

Photos: Pro Sports Images.

You can purchase a video match pass for this game and listen to commentary from our Radio WDON team, via iFollow Dons.

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Match Reports

Dons edged out by Chairboys

Defeat at Adams Park

18 November 2023

The Dons saw our Bristol Street Motors Trophy Southern Group C fixtures end with a loss as Wycombe Wanderers emerged as 1-0 winners.

Following a first-half that featured little action other than Josh Davison’s penalty being saved, the second-half was far brighter with Wimbledon creating good openings.

However our much-changed side couldn’t find the decisive touch required as we sought to get a win that would see us top the group.

A spell of good pressure in the closing stages failed to result in the goal we required, with Wycombe striking with a sucker punch through Kieran Sadlier’s goal which proved decisive.

Nevertheless there was one standout positive for as 15-year-old Academy graduate Justin Clarke made his senior debut off the bench, showing once again that the future is bright for the Dons.

Johnnie Jackson made multiple changes to the side which beat Doncaster Rovers 2-0 last time out, with Nik Tzanev, Lee Brown, Davison, Josh Neufville, James Ball, Charlie Lakin, Aron Sasu and Paul Kalambayi all coming in to start.

Meanwhile there was a youthful look to our bench, with Kai Jennings, Junior Nkeng and Clarke being handed chances to impress following their exploits in the FA Youth Cup with our Under-18s.

There was also a familiar face in the opposing line-up, with former Don Lyle Taylor making his debut for the Chairboys, having signed for the club earlier this week.

Tzanev was forced into action within the first minute as he did well to repel an effort from distance which skimmed up off the wet surface. Our backline had to withstand further early pressure with Alex Pearce being at his dominant best to repel a series of aerial deliveries.

After a quiet opening half an hour Wimbledon had a golden opportunity to take the lead when referee Aji Ajibola pointed to the penalty spot for an adjudged handball. Davison was the man to step up for the Dons, however he saw his spotkick well saved by Franco Ravizzoli.

Pearce was then called into action again as he made a goal-saving challenge with the Chairboys seemingly clean through. Tzanev also made light work of a Jack Grimmer effort after the opposing defender had strode out with the ball. A quiet first-half left the game very much up for the taking moving into the second 45 minutes.

There was a chance for Ryan Johnson to build up his minutes as he replaced Pearce at the break, taking his place at the heart of the defence alongside Kalambayi.

David Wheeler came mightily close to giving the hosts the lead as he met a low cross, thankfully Tzanev was in inspired form as he manged to scoop the effort away. Up the other end Neufville was causing problems as he sped past three challenges to win a corner.

Sasu was also looking to take the game by the scruff of the neck as his mazey run resulted in Lakin seeing a shot well blocked on the edge of the area.

The build up play was good from Wimbledon but Wycombe were proving to be a tough nut to crack as we moved into the final 20 minutes. In an attempt to add something different into the mix Jennings was brought on for the closing stages.

It was the hosts who found the breakthrough however, with Kieran Sadlier flicking home from close range via the help of a slight deflection.

Shortly afterwards Nkeng was given another taste of first-team action, whilst Clarke was handed his professional debut, with the duo replacing Neufville and Davison.

Jennings came extremely close to bagging his first senior goal as he saw a deflected volley scooped over the crossbar by the wrong-footed Ravizzoli. There was almost an astonishing ending to the game as Tzanev nearly connected with a late corner after being thrown forward at the death.

However he failed to make adequate contact, meaning it was the Chairboys who took the victory and topped the group, with the Dons having also sealed their progress to the knockout stages earlier in the month.

AFC Wimbledon: Nik Tzanev, Huseyin Biler, Lee Brown, Josh Davison (Justin Clarke), Josh Neufville (Junior Nkeng), Alex Pearce (Ryan Johnson), James Ball (Kai Jennings), Omar Bugiel, Charlie Lakin, Aron Sasu, Paul Kalambayi

Attendance: 664 (159 away)

PICS: Stephen Flynn (Pro Sports Images)

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