Late show defeats BognorAFC Wimbledon needed the intervention of trialist Dan Collier and a late flourish from Luke Moore to finally see off Bognor.
Terry Brown made a raft of substitutions on the hour and they included the introduction of former Southampton youth teamer Collier, who came on and scored with a superb looping header from a Louis Harris cross. Midfielder Collier, who is on the way back from 18 months out with a cruciate knee ligament injury, did enough to earn another chance, along with goalkeeper Yilmaz Aksoy. Youngsters determined to make an impression may have pleased the Dons boss, but he was far from happy with the overall performance against Ryman Premier new boys Bognor.
"A few of the youngsters did well for us in the second-half," he said. "Dan was released by Southampton after a serious injury, but he has done a bit of work with Mike Rayner to get him fit. He took his goal well and we will keep him for another week as he will get stronger. I must say that I was a little bit disappointed with our overall performance. In the first-half, in particular, we did not get our shots on target and we looked short of a cutting edge, but it is still early in pre-season.
"I did not really take a great deal from it, it was a pretty lethargic effort. We did a lot of work in training on Thursday and Friday and maybe that took its toll. The real plus to come out of it was Curtis Osano. I thought he was fantastic in the second-half and gave us that width that we were lacking early on. Woking will be a very tough match on Tuesday. It is always said that results are secondary in pre-season, but I was not enamoured by our performance today."
The Dons moved the ball around well early on with Stacy Long dictating the play in the midfield, but chances were few and far between. Brendan Kiernan had the first real opportunity when he got behind the Bognor defence, but he was foiled by Bognor goalkeeper Tom Boyle. Bognor did cause Wimbledon problems in the first-half though and Ben Andrews was left completely unmarked from a corner, but he headed wide. Terry Brown made an enforced change before the half hour when trialist James Yeboah had to go off injured and that meant Curtis Osano entered the fray. The former Luton Town full-back wasted no time in showing just why he became our first signing of the summer with a powerful run down the right-wing and he was Wimbledon's most impressive performer on the day. With another trialist, Aaron Racciny, partnering Pim Balkestein in central defence, Wimbledon looked solid at the back. However, the visitors were a touch fortunate when James Crane headed home well, but Bognor were aggrieved that the man-in-the-middle did not play advantage after he awarded the hosts a free-kick on the edge of the box. The Dons put together their best move of the match five minutes before the break when Charlie Strutton was unlucky not to notch his first goal in a Wimbledon shirt. Christian Jolley showed a dashing turn of pace down the right and crossed for Strutton, who was denied by a great save from Boyle, who also stopped Kiernan's powerful drive from the follow-up.
Terry Brown made several changes at the break with the rest following from the hour mark onwards. There was another chance for Louis Harris to show the vision and range of distribution that has already impressed during pre-season. Strutton forced another save from Boyle, before he departed just before the hour for Jack Midson, but it was not long before Harris created the opener. The former Wolves midfielder crossed from the right and his delivery was met by a soaring header from Collier that left Boyle with no chance. The visitors failed to build on their best spell of the match though until the last minute of normal time. Luke Moore showed that he had lost none of the scoring touch that saw him end last season in such prolific fashion when he fired home emphatically after latching onto a Collier through ball. That at least provided a silver lining for the Dons after a testing afternoon against plucky opposition, but Terry Brown knows there is plenty to work on during the rest of pre-season.
AFC Wimbledon: Seb Brown, James Yeboah (Curtis Osano), Pim Balkestein, Aaron Racciny, Jim Fenlon, Frankie Merrifield, Sammy Moore, Stacy Long, Brendan Kiernan, Charlie Strutton, Christian Jolley. Half-time and second-half substitutes: Yilmaz Aksoy, Dan Collier, Will Bor, Mat Mitchel-King, Luke Moore, Warren Cummings, Emmanuel Akohkia, Dan Sweeney, Louis Harris.