Young Dons show their potential against Southend
AFC Wimbledon Under-18s bounced back in style yesterday when they marched into the third round of the Football League Youth Alliance Cup.
Following a disappointing defeat at Leyton Orient, it was a completely different story at Southend as the young Dons clicked into gear with an excellent 4-0 win, thanks to doubles from Egli Kaja (pictured) and Dan Agyei.
With Wimbledon’s midfield three of Dan Gallagher, Billy Frost and Alfie Egan pulling the strings, it was no surprise when the visitors earned a 1-0 lead just before the half hour mark. A goal kick from Billy Bishop was headed on by the impressive Callum Wilson and Agyei punished a defensive slip with a lovely finish.
Southend first-team manager Phil Brown watched on from the sidelines as Wimbledon continued to dominate and Egan nearly doubled the advantage after more good work from Wilson. However, it needed Dons goalkeeper Bishop to make a brilliant save to maintain Wimbledon’s lead heading into the interval.
It did not take long for the Dons to reassert their first-half supremacy after the break though and it was 2-0 just a minute into the second-half. Ollie Haines and Kaja combined to put Agyei through and he twisted and turned to find space in the area, before producing a clinical finish from 10 yards. Agyei almost notched a hat-trick after more good play by the influential Haines. However, it was 3-0 just before the hour mark when Wilson headed a free-kick from Billy Frost across the face of goal and Kaja made no mistake from close-range.
minute when Agyei was fouled in the box. Despite having another chance to seal a hat-trick, Agyei handed over responsibility to Kaja and he smashed the spot-kick home emphatically. There was no let-up from Wimbledon and Frost almost finished off a fantastic team move, but his volley was just wide. Kaja also cracked an effort against the crossbar after he was set-up by Egan.th The young Dons were now rampant and they were awarded a penalty in the 65
There was still time for manager Mark Robinson to bring on 15-year-old Reece Williams Bowers in place of Egan and Dan Ano also entered the fray for Agyei. In the latter stages, Frost also had a brilliant free-kick saved and Bishop pulled off a great save at the other end to keep a clean sheet.
Mark Robinson said: “Following Saturday’s very disappointing performance, I was looking for complete focus from the boys and I’m happy to say that I got that. Although we played excellent football and dominated for long spells against good opponents, we also showed real desire to keep a clean sheet and Billy Bishop was excellent when required.
“I know this group are capable of having really exciting times at the club, but it simply will not happen unless they have 100 per cent focus every single day. I’m pleased to say that the hardest thing I had to do was to help choose our man of the match with my staff, such was the level of performances. That’s how it needs to be every week.”
Egli Kaja was selected as AFC Wimbledon’s man of the match.