Dons edged out in entertaining cup match
Wimbledon eventually found QPR too strong tonight in a seven-goal Premier League Cup thriller at Kingfield.
Those supporters who took advantage of free football at Woking FC watched an exciting clash of free-flowing football that ended with a 4-3 win for QPR after the Dons had earlier taken a 2-1 lead. There was plenty to enthuse about from Shaun North’s young squad on the night and there was the added positives of Charlie Sheringham and Kevin Sainte-Luce staking their first-team claims with superb goals on the night.
Coach Shaun North decided to play Sheringham and Sainte-Luce together up front in an attacking line-up that offered a chance for the likes of Tom Beere and Charlie Fayers opportunities to flourish after appearing in the first-team squad this season. Wimbledon fielded a strong side for this Premier League Cup tie with first-teamers Seb Brown, Sheringham, and Sainte-Luce all given game-time.
The Dons started brightly and Beere, who impressed so much for Wimbledon in pre-season, came close to breaking the deadlock in the third minute with a superb free-kick that QPR goalkeeper Joe Lumley tipped onto a post. However, that strong start counted for little when Wimbledon fell behind in the seventh minute. Mike Petrasso was the instigator as he found space down Wimbledon’s left and his cross was finished clinically by Tom Hitchcock, who scored in front of his father Kevin, the current QPR goalkeeping coach and ex-Chelsea number one.
minute when Beere’s teasing cross fell nicely for Oluseyi Daley and he fired home with an emphatic volley. Wimbledon failed to really build on that goal though and QPR started to dominate. At this stage, QPR, who included just one player with first-team experience in the form of Samba Diakite, were having the better of the match. It needed an excellent last-ditch block from Daley at the other end to stop Hitchcock helping himself to a second.rdThere was plenty to admire about Wimbledon’s response to that early setback and they gradually started to gain a decent share of possession. They were rewarded with an equaliser in the 23
The Dons made a change at half-time with George Oakley entering the fray in place of Harry Cooksley. Sainte-Luce, who switched to the right after the introduction of Oakley, did not take long to create a chance for himself when he produced a powerful surge down the right, but his shot was just diverted wide. Talented winger Sainte-Luce continued to cause havoc and referee Ernie Moore pointed for a free-kick on the edge of the area after another of his superb runs proved too much for QPR just before the hour. Sheringham’s finish from the subsequent free-kick matched the quality of that run from Sainte-Luce as he produced a fierce drive that left Lumley with no chance as it arrowed into the bottom corner.
The lead lasted just two minutes as QPR scored with a goal that matched Sheringham’s strike in terms of quality. Hitchcock, who was a livewire all night, found space in the box and produced a brilliant overhead kick that left Seb Brown with no chance. The response had been emphatic from QPR to falling behind again and Wimbledon only just survived after heroic last-ditch defending just a few minutes later. Seb Brown first denied Dylan Carreiro with a great low save and then Hitchcock’s follow-up was cleared off the line by Ryan Sweeney. It was only a temporary reprieve for Wimbledon as they failed to defend a cross from the right and Sam Magri smashed home to make it 3-2.
It was thrilling end-to-end stuff now and Wimbledon came so close to equalising when Chace Jacquart shot just wide after good approach play from Sheringham. However, it was effectively over 11 minutes from time when Daley tripped Hitchcock in the box and the striker picked himself up off the floor to beat Brown from 12 yards and complete his hat-trick. Sheringham could be well pleased with his work on the night and he was withdrawn after a pleasing 80 minutes for Wimbledon with Callum Overton taking his place.
minute when Sainte-Luce powered through and produced a clinical finish past Lumley. Though the Dons just failed to complete a fightback and force extra-time, it had been an encouraging performance from Wimbledon’s young crop on the night. thOakley shot across the face of goal with five minutes to play as Wimbledon tried to pull it out of the fire, but they did make QPR sweat in the 89
AFC Wimbledon: Seb Brown, Kieron Tarbie, Charlie Fayers, Dan Pearse, Oluseyi Daley, Ryan Sweeney, Tom Beere, Chace Jacquart, Charlie Sheringham (Callum Overton), Kevin Sainte-Luce, Harry Cooksley (George Oakley).