Better expected from coach for next meeting
AFC Wimbledon Under-18s failed a dress rehearsal for their FA Youth Cup tie against Gillingham as they lost against the same opponents on Saturday.
Under-18s manager Mark Robinson said that his side fell below the expectations he expects from them after they lost 5-3 at home against Gills. A date will be announced soon for Wimbledon's FA Youth Cup tie at Gillingham, but Robinson knows they must do much better if they are to make progress.
Wimbledon found themselves 3-0 down after just 17 minutes with Sam Lawford opening the scoring and a Greg Cundle double. Though the Dons did stem the flow and created a few opportunities of their own in the first-half, unforced errors from Wimbledon gave Gillingham chances to add to their tally.
Without being anywhere near their best, Wimbledon threatened to make a game of it. Kaja was foiled in a one-on-one by Gillingham goalkeeper Henry Newcombe, who also denied Agyei after good work by Alfie Egan. minute.thIt was a much brighter start from Wimbledon after half-time with Dan Agyei and Egli Kaja both going close to reducing the arrears. There was not too long to wait though for Wimbledon to register and Agyei (pictured) did get one back in the 56
Wimbledon hopes of earning a draw receded 21 minutes from time though when Harry Stannard made it 4-1 from a free-kick. It got worse for the hosts when the excellent Lawford added a fifth for Gillingham.
And Kaja added a third for Wimbledon after superb play by 15-year-old Reece Williams-Bowers. It would have been an interesting conclusion if any of the late chances that fell for Dan Ano, Bowers, Agyei and Kaja had been converted, but the Dons had left it too late on this occasion. goal of the season.thThe latter stages were about salvaging pride for Wimbledon and they quickly got one back with 10 minutes left through Agyei, who struck his 20
Mark Robinson said: “Following a performance like that, the first thing I do is look at myself and see if there was anything I did that could have led to such an inept performance. Though we had a long journey on Tuesday and got back in the early hours, the boys were given more than enough recovery time.
“I’m at a bit of a loss to explain why good players could not pass the ball to each other and why we did things defensively that verged on being comical. Last Monday I sat with Neal Ardley to watch our development team win at Milton Keynes and I felt very pleased with the boys progressing from the Under-18s to the Under-21s. But I looked on Saturday at the boys who should be staking a claim to follow them and it was very disappointing from most of them.
“I have a very good indication why our performances are so erratic and it all boils down to that one word ‘focus’ that the players need. Unfortunately, I can only try and educate the boys on what is needed to stand a chance of progressing, but ultimately they are making the decisions. We face Gillingham in the FA Youth Cup soon and with a fixture pile-up there’s no guarantee I will have my senior players available. It’s therefore up to the rest of the lads to find this consistent focus very quickly.”
Mark Robinson added that everyone at AFC Wimbledon wishes Gillingham goalkeeper Harry Newcombe a speedy recovery after a collision with one of his own players that led to him being taken to hospital.
Man of the Match for Wimbledon was Alfie Egan.