Under-18s make it six out of seven
AFC Wimbledon Under-18s got back to winning ways yesterday afternoon with an impressive second-half display against Luke Garrard’s Boreham Wood.
Dons favourite Garrard is Head Academy Coach at Boreham Wood and his side were more than a match for the visitors in the first-half, but second-half goals from Dan Agyei, Dan Gallagher (pictured) and Callum Wilson earned a 3-0 victory for Wimbledon to make it six wins out of seven in pre-season.
Having experienced their first pre-season defeat on Saturday at the hands of last season’s FA Youth Cup finalists Fulham, the young Dons started in determined mood to put that behind them. Egli Kaja was put through for a one-on-one after an excellent five-man move, but he failed to open the scoring. However, the young Dons lost their way after that and Billy Bishop rescued them with a great fingertip save.
Following a half-time dressing down from manager Mark Robinson and several of Wimbledon’s first-year scholars entering the fray, it was a different story after the break.
Dan Ano was just denied after breaking through, but Reece Batchelor was fouled as he attempted to convert the rebound and Agyei made no mistake from the penalty spot. That provided a spark for Wimbledon and Gallagher, Alfie Egan and Jason Stripp started to pull the strings in midfield with running off the ball from Ollie Haines, Anu and Agyei opening up the hosts continuously.
Ano and Batchelor came so close to doubling Wimbledon’s advantage, but it was not long before they did go 2-0 up when Gallagher rose superbly to head home Ben Harrison’s cross. There was still time for Wimbledon to put the icing on the cake when Billy Frost showed good vision to pick-out right-back Wilson’s surging run and he volleyed home in style. Haines smashed a shot against the crossbar late on, but Wimbledon’s second-half display had been far superior to what they showed in the first and Mark Robinson was pleased with the improvement.
“Boreham Wood caused us problems and I was not happy with some of our reactions,” Mark said. “We did not play badly in the first-half, but there are certain things that are a given for me and these were not happening so the players were reminded of that at half-time. In the second-half we played some excellent football. Coming here to Boreham Wood is always my favourite pre-season game. I’ve stayed in touch with Luke since he left the club. As well as putting out very good, inventive teams, everything they do down here is class from the moment you pull up in the coach.”