Late goals earn reward for spirited second-half
A young Wimbledon side at least salvaged second-half pride in tonight’s Surrey Senior Cup tie at Sutton after a first-half to forget at Gander Green Lane.
With a starting 11 consisting entirely of teenagers apart from goalkeeper Seb Brown, the Dons were 5-0 down at half-time. It was a testing first 45 minutes for Mark Robinson’s Under-18s, but they at least bounced back in the second-half with Charlie Fayers and George Oakley (pictured) striking late consolations in a 5-2 defeat. Huw Johnson was one of only three players in the squad with League 2 experience on the night.
Indeed, The Dons had a mountain to climb inside 11 minutes when they found themselves 2-0 down at Gander Green Lane. It was a former AFC Wimbledon striker who haunted his old club to get the ball rolling when the Dons only half cleared a cross and Kevant Serbonij produced a superb curler into the top corner that left Seb Brown with no chance. Wimbledon were not given a chance to recover their composure before they fell further behind when Brown parried a fierce drive from Craig Dundas and Chris Benjamin was there to tap into an empty net.
minute when he beat the Dons defence and crossed for Benjamin to notch his second. It had been a hugely testing first-half for Wimbledon and former Dons captain Jamie Stuart was a virtual spectator as the visitors struggled to create anything of note.th minute when Dundas helped himself to his second with a clinical finish after the Dons had failed to deal with a free-kick. Tricky right winger Murrell-Williamson continued to taunt Wimbledon and his fine run helped make it five in the 40th minute when Rhys Murrell-Williamson sent over a teasing cross that was headed home emphatically by Dundas. It got worse in the 28thThe visitors had barely been outside their own half in the opening exchanges and they were 3-0 down in the 20
Wimbledon started the second-half with a determination to make amends and Tom Beere started to show what he could do on the left side. Wimbledon had their first attempt on goal two minutes into the second-half when Huw Johnson turned inside and created a shooting opportunity for himself, but his shot was well over the crossbar. The visitors could at least take comfort from holding their own in the second-half and it needed Sutton goalkeeper Tom Lovelock to be alert when he palmed away a teasing free-kick from Tom Beere. Wimbledon created their best chance just after the hour when Beere sent George Oakley racing clear on goal, but he sliced his effort wide. Wimbledon had produced a much improved second-half display without kind finding that cutting edge.
There was still time for Wimbledon to reduce the arrears further when Oakley won a penalty after being sent sprawling in the box and he picked himself up to score from 12 yards. Wimbledon made a double substitution shortly after that goal with Kieran Tarbie and Sam Baffour replacing Beere and Dan Pearse. minute when Sutton failed to clear a corner from Beere and Charlie Fayers scrambled the ball over the line. th minute when Frankie Merrifield was offered a chance to recapture his impressive early season form for the first-team with Matt Cunnington the man to make way. Chace Jacquart summed up Wimbledon’s renewed confidence when he produced a fine run and shot and shot that was deflected just wide. Wimbledon had a deserved goal to show for their second-half efforts in the 75thThe Dons made a change in the 67
Though it had been a tough night for Wimbledon’s youngsters, they will no doubt have learned a great deal from the experience and could take comfort from winning the second-half 2-0.
AFC Wimbledon: Seb Brown, Greg Haydon, Matt Cunnington (Frankie Merrifield), Dan Pearse (Kieran Tarbie), Owen Roberts, Oluseyi Daley, Huw Johnson, Chace Jacquart, George Oakley Charlie Fayers, Tom Beere (Sam Baffour).