Under-18s make the most of international friendly
AFC Wimbledon Under-18s yesterday won an international fixture in style by getting the better of talented Japanese side Toyama Daiichi.
.Dons You TubeToyama captured the National High School Championship title in Japan last year and they provided a decent test for the young Dons, particularly in the first-half. However, substitute Egli Kaja struck two superb goals after the break to help Wimbledon to a 3-1 win at Tooting & Mitcham. One of his goals can be viewed by clicking on
Tom Beere, who continued his comeback after three months out injured, was instrumental in making the breakthrough as he produced a superb cross from the left that Nas Majeed slotted home emphatically. However, the early exchanges showed that Toyama would be no pushovers and it needed Billy Bishop to make a fine save to deny Yasoshima from netting an equaliser.
Both sides had chances before the break with Harlan Basker firing just wide and at the other end Tanahashi came close for the visitors. The 1-0 half-time scoreline was perhaps a fair reflection of the first 45 minutes as Wimbledon shaded it in terms of possession and chances created.
Academy Head Coach Mark Robinson made a raft of half-time substitutions with Kaja among those entering the fray. And it was Kaja who doubled the advantage when he showed good composure to slot home after good work from Dan Agyei. If the young Dons thought that was game over, then they were mistaken. A fine team move from Toyama ended with Tanahashi applying the finish it deserved and the visitors were back in it.
There was better to come from Wimbledon though as Kaja linked-up superbly with George Oakley and finished off well with his left foot after the Toyama goalkeeper had saved his initial effort. Though Oakley came close to a fourth and Kaja was denied a hat-trick by the woodwork, a young Wimbledon side could be well pleased with their efforts against a Japanese side that showed good technical skills and offered a different kind of test.
Mark Robinson said: “It was a good work-out for us against a Japanese side that are going to play some good teams during their tour. I thought that we started brightly, but for 25 minutes in the first-half we did not match them physically. In the second-half we changed it and our movement was a lot better.
“We ended up worthy winners and could have had a few more. It was excellent playing against a team from a different culture. Their players were doing their own warm-ups without any coaching direction and I’m constantly badgering our lads about how important discipline and preparation is for games.”
Toyama coach Ichiro Otsuka, who is a UEFA A Licence Coach, brings his side over to the UK every year for a tour and they were due to play Brighton & Hove Albion today.
He said: “Wimbledon were very strong physically and their passing and movement was good. We come over here every year and this was a good way to start our tour.”
AFC Wimbledon Under-18s: Billy Bishop, Rob Switon, Ryan Sweeney (Taylor Roles), Ben Harrison (Ian Smith), Callum Wilson, Renato Morais, Dan Gallagher (Dan Pearse), Tom Beere, Nas Majeed (Billy Frost), Dan Agyei (George Oakley), Harlan Basker (Egli Kaja).