Under-16s start with a bang
Bermudan youth international Judah Chapman sparked an opening day league win for AFC Wimbledon Under-16s against Stevenage on Saturday.
Chapman (pictured), who represented Bermuda in Under-17 World Cup qualifiers in the summer, showed his quality back on these shores with the decisive strike in a 1-0 win.
Hosts Wimbledon started the game with intent and from the first minute they were on the front foot. The attacking quartet of Jayden Antwi, Ethan Roberts, Sian Forsythe and Reece Williams- Bowers continuously caused problems for the Stevenage defence. With George Merchant and Ronan Halpin providing a solid platform from the back, it was a surprise the game was level at half-time.
Wimbledon continued the momentum after the break with James Parker, Luke Massey and Chapman pulling the strings in midfield. However, it appeared that the young Dons may fall short of their victory target in their first Football League Youth Alliance fixture of the season. Antwi was unfortunate to see his effort come back off a post and then Tino Carprene had an effort cleared off the line.
But midway through the second-half Wimbledon earned the breakthrough – and it came in fine style too. Parker and Carprene combined to release Antonio Walker down the right and his fine cross was volleyed home emphatically by Chapman.
Though the Dons were unable to build on their opener, one proved to be enough in the end.
“It was a joy to watch from start to finish and I’d be doing the boys an injustice if I was to pick out individuals because they were all on it today. I’m not too surprised with the performance because week by week the boys have been progressing. Today was the standard we need to follow in terms of intensity and mentality for the rest of this season.” Under-16s coach Michael Hamilton said:
AFC Wimbledon Under-16s squad v Stevenage: Tom Gordon, Joe Thompson, Tin Carprene, Anthony Hartigan, Luke Massey, Ethan Roberts, Jayden Antwi, Declan Appau, Judah Chapman, George Merchant, Kieran Rhule, Ashan Sheppard, Reece Bowers, Sian Forsythe, James Parker, Ronan Halpin, Antonio Walker.