Young squad fail to build on promising start
AFC Wimbledon paid the price for defensive mistakes that allowed Gillingham to come from behind and earn victory in the Final Third Development League today.
It had all looked so promising early on when Dan Agyei fired Wimbledon in front after good work by Neset Bellikli, but Gillingham replied with two goals before the break and eventually triumphed 3-1.
Wimbledon fielded a very young side for this match and that was summed up by the fact that 19-year-old George Oakley had made more first-team appearances than anyone in a Dons shirt as he featured nine times as a substitute earlier this season.
minute. A pass from Callum Wilson put Taylor Roles under pressure at the back and he brought down Greg Cundle in the box. Aiden Blanchard made no mistake with the subsequent penalty.th minute. The Dons certainly had the better of it in the first 20 minutes, but Gills gradually found their rhythm and drew level in the 35thThere was nothing wrong with Wimbledon’s start and Agyei finished clinically after a lovely pass by Bellikli in the 10
Egli Kaja showed his promise with a lovely run minutes later, but he decided to go it alone rather than set-up Oakley and his shot was well wide. Wimbledon fell behind for the first time two minutes before half-time when Joe McDonnell’s attempted clearance rebounded off Roles straight into the path of Michael Freiter, who made no mistake.
Wimbledon had a mountain to climb eight minutes into the second-half when Wilson was penalised for a foul in the area and Blanchard made no mistake from 12 yards again.
In truth, there had been little to separate the two sides in terms of general play and Wimbledon came close to reducing the arrears on several occasions. Agyei fired just over after good approach play by Jason Stripp and then Kaja produced another fine individual run that ended with a shot well saved by the Gills goalkeeper.
Kaja also came close with a curled effort just wide, but Cundle struck a post with a lovely effort from outside the box in the latter stages. A fourth goal would have been harsh on Wimbledon, but it was a day when Alan Reeves’ young side failed to find the same fluency that had been such a feature of their excellent 4-0 win against Cambridge last week.
AFC Wimbledon: Joe McDonnell, Reece Batchelor, Taylor Roles, Callum Wilson, Neset Bellikli, Egli Kaja, Jason Stripp (Alfie Egan), Christian Toonga, David Fitzpatrick, George Oakley, Dan Agyei.