Dons development side open with a win
struck the winner for AFC Wimbledon’s development squad today in a hard-fought victory against Portsmouth.Youssouf Bamba
said it was a very worthwhile exercise after a handful of first-teamers and youngsters combined to help the Dons to a 2-1 win against Pompey.Shaun NorthNew Under-21 Development Coach
and Bamba a chance to increase their match sharpness after playing for the first-team during pre-season.Tom Beere, Chace Jacquart (pictured above in the thick of the action), Charlie Fayers all gained much-needed game-time. The match also offered young players such as Kevin Sainte-Luce, Jim Fenlon, Charlie Strutton, Rhys Weston and Seb Brown watched on from the sidelines at New Malden as Neal Ardley
The Dons fell behind in just the eighth minute after Fenlon was adjudged to have handled in the box. Though Seb Brown dived the right way in an effort to stop the subsequent penalty, Portsmouth striker Ashley Harris beat him with a well taken spot-kick into the bottom corner. Wimbledon drew level five minutes later though when trialist Harry Cooksey, who was with Aldershot last season, turned inside two challenges and curled home for a fine equaliser.
That proved to be the platform for Wimbledon’s best spell of the match as they dominated before the break. Tom Beere almost bettered the quality of his side’s first goal with a fine solo run from the halfway line, but his finish was well saved. Bamba was also denied by the Pompey goalkeeper, before Weston came close with a header after a teasing free-kick from Beere. Sainte-Luce gradually warmed to the task after easing his way back from a hamstring injury and one superb run from the winger almost set-up Bamba for number two. Sainte-Luce also came close after Bamba had returned the favour.
to clear off the line.Oluseyi DaleyPortsmouth so nearly drew level on the stroke of half-time when Weston’s back header fell short and it needed
Wimbledon snatched what turned out to be the winning goal just two minutes after the break when the Portsmouth goalkeeper made a hash of a back pass and Bamba stole in before him and tapped into an empty net. Jacquart, who impressed with his industry in midfield, almost capped his display with a fine goal when he turned inside from the left and curled just wide of the far post.
Pompey, who fielded a young squad that included former Barnet defender Bondz N’Gala and recent signing Ryan Bird, came close to an equaliser in the final stages with Seb Brown making an excellent double save near the end. The Dons made a raft of substitutions from the hour mark onwards with the likes of Fenlon, Sainte-Luce and Weston withdrawn.
However, the Dons survived late pressure and Shaun North was very pleased with the outcome.
“There are a lot of things that we can work on after that, but also a lot of positives to take from the match,” he said. “It was really pleasing from the whole group; we had five first-teamers out there, but the young players who came on also did very well. Everyone played their part in a good win.”
: Seb Brown, Jim Fenlon (Kieron Tarbie), Charlie Fayers, Chace Jacquart, Oluseyi Daley (Will Nightingale), Rhys Weston (Chris Vlietinck), Kevin Sainte-Luce (Dan Pearse), Tom Beere, Charlie Strutton, Youssouf Bamba, Harry Cooksey.AFC Wimbledon
Dons Player subscribers can watch a video interview with Shaun North later today and we will tomorrow feature the thoughts of Jim Fenlon and Rhys Weston on their respective returns.