Agyei strikes in creditable draw for Wimbledon
AFC Wimbledon Under-18s came up just short in their bid for a third successive win on Saturday, but they produced another encouraging performance against Luton Town.
Taking on a Hatters side flying high in the Football League Youth Alliance, Wimbledon threatened to win it after taking the lead through Dan Agyei (pictured), but they had to settle for a 1-1 draw in the end.
Callum Wilson provided the spark for Wimbledon’s early breakthrough when he put through a wonderful defence-splitting pass and Agyei gave it the finish it deserved from 12 yards. That lifted the Dons and they produced an impressive spell of possession football, which led to chances to make it 2-0. Callum Overton, Nas Majeed and Egli Kaja all came close to extending the advantage.
The Dons were made to rue those missed opportunities when they failed to defend a corner and Tyreeq Bakinson scored a fine header from 10 yards. A spirited response to that setback followed though and Majeed was put clean through, but he was just foiled by Luton goalkeeper Craig King.
Academy Head Coach Mark Robinson was forced into a defensive reshuffle on the half hour with commanding centre-back Ryan Sweeney having to be withdrawn after a clash of heads that left him with mild concussion. That resulted in Under-16 Reece Batchelor making the step-up and he produced an assured display at the back.
Luton had their best spell of the match after the break and Wimbledon had to really dig in to deny the visitors. However, a back-line brilliantly marshalled by centre-back Taylor Roles and well protected by holding midfielder Danny Gallagher provided stubborn resistance with goalkeeper Billy Bishop offering a calming influence behind.
Wimbledon finished the match strongly after the introduction of Renato Morais for Overton allowed Kaja to take up a more advanced role. Kaja and Agyei both came close to winning it for Wimbledon, but the Dons had to be content with a creditable draw against good opposition.
Mark Robinson said: “There were a lot of positives today and we once again fielded a team of first-year Under-18s and gave experience to an Under-16 player. We played excellent football at times on a difficult surface against a very good side. As far as Under-18 football goes, this was probably the closest the boys will get to League 2 football in terms of the physical challenge that was provided. However, we coped admirably all over the pitch.
“Once again, we were brave in our play and that makes me really happy. Perhaps we could have turned the screw a bit more in the last 10 minutes because I never felt we would concede from open play. However, it was another good performance and it sets us up nicely for our trip to league leaders Colchester United next week.”
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Danny Gallagher was selected as AFC Wimbledon’s man of the match.