Coach calls for U-18s to be more clinical
AFC Wimbledon Under-18s manager Mark Robinson said his side must show more of a “ruthless streak” after they failed to earn a victory that their domination deserved against Luton Town on Saturday.
In-form striker Dan Agyei enhanced his growing reputation with another goal and Alfie Egan (pictured) earned the man of the match award for a commanding midfield display in a 1-1 draw. Mark Robinson said there were plenty of other positives to take from the overall performance that extended Wimbledon’s unbeaten run to six, but he rued missed opportunities.
“I would be lying if I said that I don’t feel a little frustrated,” said Mark. “I take it as a massive complement that a team of Luton’s quality reverted to a very defensive shape so early on. But we really need to find a ruthless streak in the final third. I’m very confident that I know what we need to work on to rectify this problem. The boys know that we’re dominating games, but not finishing teams off. It’s very important this does not become a mental issue though.
“There are so many positives in the way that we’re playing and we must not forget that. Over the coming weeks we will aim to work on having that cutting edge. I left out some of our regulars today and I was very pleased with how the younger boys stepped up to the mark.”
Wimbledon came out of the blocks quickly on Saturday and they could have been in front after just two minutes when Ollie Haines set-up Agyei, but he shot wide. Then Neset Bellikli weaved some magic and his cross was almost met by Callum Overton. With Egan, Jason Stripp and Billy Frost controlling midfield, Wimbledon dominated and they played excellent football early on. Overton and Agyei missed half chances and Egan had a shot well saved.
minute when the influential Haines and Frost combined wonderfully to release Overton and his pass set-up Agyei, who finished clinically. thAt the other end, Luton struggled to make an impression with Taylor Roles, Ryan Sweeney and Ian Smith offering solid resistance and Will Mannion – making his Football League Youth Alliance debut – looking composed in goal. Wimbledon earned the goal their play deserved in the 26
Luton showed spirit to respond and Mannion made a smart save to retain Wimbledon’s advantage. However, there was nothing the Dons goalkeeper could do to stop Luton securing an equaliser nine minutes before the break.
Though Wimbledon started the second-half by earning good possession, they struggled to regain the attacking fluency of the first half hour. Mark Robinson made his first substitution in an effort to change matters with Dan Gallagher replacing Jason Stripp on the hour. Five minutes later Wimbledon fashioned their best chance of the second-half so far when the excellent Egan and Frost combined to set-up Bellikli, but his shot was too close to the goalkeeper. The quality of the final ball was often lacking though and Mark Robinson made further changes with Callum Wilson replacing Egan and Dan Ano entering the fray for Overton.
Dons goalkeeper Mannion was forced to make only his second save of the match eight minutes from time, but Wimbledon came closest to earning all three points in the latter stages. With two minutes left, centre-back Roles released Agyei and his pace left the Hatters defence trailing in his wake, but he shot over from 15 yards.