Eventful game for young midfielder
Wimbledon Under-18s paid the price for failing to kill off Stevenage on Saturday as they had to settle for a point in their first Football League Youth Alliance match for two weeks.
Manager Mark Robinson took positives from his side’s first-half display in the 1-1 draw, but he lamented a missed opportunity to make it five successive wins for the Under-18s.
“We should have been out of sight by half-time with the chances we created,” said Mark Robinson. “We beat Gillingham 3-0 in our last league game and we had eight attempts on goal. Against Stevenage we had 18 attempts and scored one so I think that tells the story really. I was very pleased with some of our approach play in the first-half, but in the second-half we did not adapt our play well enough to their pressing and it became a bit of a battle.
“The game should have been won in the first-half. It wasn’t because of finishing techniques and decision-making, which we will need to address in training.”
With Bellikli, Frost and Dan Gallagher controlling midfield, Wimbledon dominated the first-half. Dan Agyei was denied by the Stevenage goalkeeper after fine approach play from Ollie Haines. It was an eventful game for Neset Bellikli (pictured), who scored a fine goal after having an earlier effort disallowed and he created the first chance for Wimbledon, Billy Frost shooting wide from 10 yards.
Wimbledon created plenty of chances before the break with Agyei having another shot saved and then he fired wide after Taylor Roles had headed on from a corner. Then Bellikli had a fantastic individual effort controversially ruled out when he appeared to bring the ball down with his upper chest and then shot home emphatically from 20 yards. However, the referee’s assistant raised his flag and the referee concluded that it was handball.
The Dons finally got the goal their first-half play deserved 10 minutes before the break. The impressive Frost released Callum Overton, who fed Agyei and when his shot was saved Bellikli smashed home from six yards.
minute.thThough Stevenage came into it after the break, Bellikli and Gallagher came close to extending Wimbledon’s advantage before the hour. Though Taylor Roles put in an assured performance at the heart of the Wimbledon defence, there was nothing he could do to stop Stevenage equalising in the 64
Mark Robinson made changes in an effort to rejuvenate his side with Alfie Egan replacing Bellikli and Dan Ano entering the fray for Agyei. However, Billy Bishop made his first save 12 minutes from time – and it was an excellent one too as he dived to his left to stop Stevenage taking the lead. There was still time for Wimbledon to almost earn a late winner when an excellent team move ended with Frost setting up Haines, but he was denied by the Stevenage goalkeeper.
Dan Gallagher received the man of the match award for Wimbledon.