Luton prove too strong for young Dons
Manager Mark Robinson believes it will take time for this season’s new crop of Under-18s to produce what they are capable of after a difficult afternoon at Luton.
With several of last season’s key players having moved up to play Under-21 football, Mark has a young group with a lot of first-year scholars and captain Dom Bongo was required for Alan Reeves’ development squad on Tuesday.
However, Mark was far from happy with the manner of the 5-0 defeat against a side with a 100 per record in the Football League Youth Alliance.
“I told the boys beforehand that in terms of youth football it would be the closest challenge to League 2 football that they would get,” said Mark. “I asked them to relish it and impose themselves on the game. Unfortunately, we made some very poor decisions on the ball, which led to goals and gave us a mountain to climb against a very good side.
“I hold my hands up because I encourage the boys to be brave in their play and I’m not going to change that. They need to make decisions, otherwise we will produce one dimensional players and that is not going to help us grow as a club.
“The lads need to be stretched and they will be absolutely fine. It may just take a little longer than I thought with this group. The only other problem was that we did not ask anywhere near enough questions of Luton. We have another tough game at Peterborough on Saturday and over the next few days I will be looking for the players who want to go out and make things happen.”
The young Dons suffered a very early setback at Luton on Tuesday with a defensive lapse allowing in James Verney to make it 1-0 before two minutes had been played. Though the game was fairly even in terms of possession, the Dons continued to make poor decisions and Jack Snelus exploited that with a superb 25-yarder to make it 2-0.
Though Wimbledon’s display lacked a cutting edge for the most part, in-form Jayden Antwi did have an attempt well saved after the visitors had forced a succession of corners. A quick break on the stroke of half-time earned a third for Luton with Verney striking his second and the Dons had a mountain to climb in the second half.
Wimbledon’s best spell followed for 25 minutes after the break, but they failed to earn tangible reward. It was clinical from Luton at the other end though and George Murray struck twice in the last 20 minutes to round off a tough day for Wimbledon’s youngsters.
Man of the match for Wimbledon was Emmanuel Mensah.