Manager says Young Dons must knuckle down to progress
AFC Wimbledon Under-18s were given a tough lesson at Luton on Saturday with a weakened Dons side beaten 4-0.
The young Dons had only three players in the starting line-up who were involved in the FA Youth Cup defeat to Burnley and that meant opportunities for several Under-16s.
It was a bright start from Wimbledon and they were almost rewarded when Dan Ano, who impressed on the day and earned the man of the match award, struck a fine effort against a post. The only negative for Wimbledon in the opening 25 minutes was that there was a reluctance to shoot at goal.
Wimbledon now had a mountain to climb against a Luton side now full of confidence. Two goals followed in the second-half through Leeroy Maguraushe and Alex Atkinson to make it a tough day for Wimbledon. Despite controlling matters early on, Wimbledon fell behind when Luton striker Geo Craig finished off well and it was 2-0 before the half hour through Kyran McGhan-George.
Mark Robinson (pictured) said: “After playing on Thursday night we needed to have a major reshuffle with Under-16 boys given an opportunity and it was not ideal to play three of the boys involved less than 48 hours later. We started very well and moved the ball around nicely, but the only problem was that we did not do enough in those early stages to hurt Luton. Players did not want to take responsibility to do this by having a shot, making a run into a dangerous area or taking on a man and our good build-up play came to nothing.
“The most disappointing thing was our reaction to Luton’s goals when we were on top. I told the boys beforehand that Luton are always the benchmark in terms of physicality at Under-18 level and earlier this season we more than matched them. That certainly wasn’t the case for these younger boys today and it showed some of them what they could be facing next season.
“It also provided an indication of areas the first year scholars need to work on quickly. Under-16s, along with first and second year scholars, all need to knuckle down very quickly if they want to continue the excellent progression through the ranks that we’ve already seen this season.”