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Mark: squad must learn

13 October 2014

A warning from the manager for Under-18s

AFC Wimbledon Under-18s threw away a two-goal lead on Saturday and manager Mark Robinson said his players must start learning lessons quickly if they wish to make further progress at the club.

The young Dons let their early supremacy slip as they were 3-2 down after just half an hour at home to Milton Keynes and the 4-3 defeat could have been worse if it was not for great goalkeeping from man of the match Billy Bishop (pictured).

Head of Coaching at the academy, Mark Robinson, said: “We got off to a bright start and scored two very good goals, but after that it was a very disappointing performance. Maybe the boys started dreaming of a similar scoreline to last season, but the reality is that they have to make things happen on and off the ball. Nothing happens by chance and they need to control their own destiny by being creative on the ball, but also functional and disciplined off it. We got one half of that very wrong.

“All the boys watched the first-team game versus Bury afterwards so they will have seen what a team needs to do to win a game after getting into a good position against a very good side. A lot of those things are to do with off the ball situations and our players must learn to love that side of the game. I cannot deny that’s a bit of an issue, hence why we are dropping silly points every week.

“We are in a good position at the club with progression through the academy now and Ben Harrison has moved on from this squad already into the first-team set-up. Several of our players are getting call-ups for the Under-21s, but if such progression is to continue then the boys moving up to play for Alan Reeves need to be good learners.”

The Under-18s observed an immaculate minute’s silence in memory of Wimbledon legend Roy Law beforehand and they got off to a great start on Saturday. Billy Frost finished off a fine team move in style by rounding the goalkeeper and slotting home to make it 1-0 and Wimbledon doubled their advantage when Dan Gallagher headed on a corner and Neset Bellikli finished brilliantly from a tight angle.

However, Wimbledon failed to maintain their early momentum and the visitors got one back, before they added two more in the first half hour. Despite failing to recapture their spark, Wimbledon drew level five minutes before the break after a wonderful individual goal from Dan Agyei. The striker beat three players and finished brilliantly to register a definite goal of the month contender.

 Wimbledon had to defend for long spells in the second-half and they eventually fell behind 15 minutes from time. Despite the excellent Ollie Haines striking a post with a fine effort and Callum Overton having an effort cleared off the line, Wimbledon had Billy Bishop to thank for keeping them in it on several occasions. Bishop, who played for the Under-21s versus Charlton last week, made great saves on the day and thoroughly deserved his man of the match award.

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