Billy Frost volleys home the winner
AFC Wimbledon Under-18s ended their season in style with a volley from Billy Frost earning victory at Barnet on Saturday.
The 2-1 win meant that Wimbledon’s youngsters completed a fine end to the campaign with 10 games unbeaten. Frost (pictured) struck a second-half winner after Callum Overton’s opener had been cancelled out by the hosts.
Though it was played in gale force wind conditions, it was a game not lacking in quality and there was no stopping Overton from making an impression. The striker almost opened his account early on, but he shot just wide after good work by Frost, who also had an effort blocked after he was set-up by Ollie Haines.
Barnet came into the game though after that bright start from the visitors and Wimbledon goalkeeper Billy Bishop had to maintain his side’s advantage.
Overton produced a clever run behind the Barnet defence to latch onto a long ball from Taylor Roles and he controlled the ball superbly before finishing clinically. Though Wimbledon threatened to build on that breakthrough, Barnet equalised on the stroke of half-time. It therefore came against the run of play when Wimbledon took the lead after 25 minutes.
Wimbledon needed Bishop to pull off two great saves after the break and they were forced to reorganise when Roles and Dan Agyei were forced off injured. However, it offered U-16 pair Reece Batchelor and Louie Cockle opportunities to gain experience at this level. Cockle’s influence was immediate and he linked-up impressively in midfield with Danny Gallagher and Frost.
The Dons started to dictate matters again and Gallagher, Egli Kaja and Haines all came close to restoring their advantage. It was therefore no surprise when Wimbledon did strike a second 16 minutes from time. Kaja and Ben Harrison combined to find Haines in space and though Overton’s effort from the cross was well saved, Frost volleyed home emphatically for the winner.
Academy Head Coach Mark Robinson said: “The conditions were difficult for both teams and we never really got near the level that we reached in previous weeks. We only showed glimpses of what we can do, but Barnet were very good and we had to be defensively aware, which restricted our fluency. I was very happy with the two Under-16s and Louie Cockle certainly justified the decision to offer him a scholarship for next season.
“Football has many factors in it that you need to get right if you’re to win games. We constantly tell the players that there is so much importance in the small details. It therefore brought a lot of pleasure that our two goals came through left-footed strikes from players who would not have used their weaker foot six months ago. Those two goals were the difference in a very tight game.
“The boys now need to get their off season preparations right so that they can be ready to turn it up a few notches next season, both individually and collectively. The last 10 games already count for nothing because these matches are history now.”
Billy Bishop was Wimbledon’s man of the match.