Young Dons hit the goal trail
Ade Azeez staked his claim for more first-team action with a double at Cambridge United today as AFC Wimbledon Under-21s got off to a great start in the Final Third Development League.
Azeez (pictured) tormented the home side’s defence with his blistering pace and scored two fine goals with George Oakley and Egli Kaja also on target in a 4-0 win.
Both clubs fielded strong sides in a match played at Cambridge United’s training ground. Liam Hughes and Jordan Slew had actually started for the U’s in the 2-1 win at the Cherry Red Records Stadium last Tuesday. Former Stevenage goalkeeper Sam Beasant, son of Wimbledon hero Dave, was between the sticks for the home side in front of watching first-team manager Richard Money.
Coach Alan Reeves included first-teamers in defence and attack with Will Nightingale bolstering the back-line and Azeez offering a useful outlet up front.
It didn’t take long for Wimbledon to take charge of this game and it was a fine move that created the opening goal. Egli Kaja, who was impressive throughout, picked out Azeez and though Beasant was out quickly off his line to deny him, Oakley reacted quickly and finished off well.
The Dons were fortunate not to be pegged back shortly afterwards when former Huddersfield striker Danny Carr shot wide from close range. Cambridge came even closer when Jake Chambers-Shaw let fly with a dipping effort from 20 yards that bounced off the crossbar.
In a match that was a great advert for the Final Third Development League, both sides poured forward at every opportunity. The hosts just could not contain the pace and power of Azeez, who was rampant on the day. Following another smart save from Beasant to deny him, Azeez sped down the right and cut the ball back for Oakley, who this time shot wide.
Despite moments of danger from Cambridge, Wimbledon controlled the first half. Tom Beere pulled the strings well at the heart of midfield alongside the steadying influence of Dan Gallagher in the midfield holding role. It was so nearly 2-0 when David Fitzpatrick burst down the right and delivered a lovely cross that Kaja headed over the bar.
minute when Beere produced a great delivery from a free-kick that bounced off the woodwork and Azeez showed a good poacher’s instinct to double the advantage.thWimbledon did earn a second in the 19
Cambridge had a great chance to half the advantage before half-time when Carr broke down the right and crossed for Slew, but he headed wide. Carr also struck a post from close range as Cambridge failed to make the most of the chances they had in the first-half.
The Dons effectively killed off any Cambridge hopes of a second-half fightback shortly after the break after a well-worked free-kick. Instead of having a crack at goal, Gallagher picked out Kaja’s run and he headed home emphatically.
With Nightingale impressive at the back and Joe McDonnell a calm presence between the sticks, Cambridge were limited to very little in the second half. At the other end, Wimbledon continued to knock on the door and Fitzpatrick was denied by a fingertip save from Beasant after a fine run and shot. Ben Harrison also clipped the crossbar with a fine effort.
Midway through the second half Wimbledon did claim a fourth and it was a great goal too. Azeez latched onto a through ball from Fitzpatrick and rounded Beasant before slotting home from an acute angle.
Azeez and Oakley both came close to making it five in the final stages, but a four-goal haul and three points was a great way to start the season in the Final Third Development League.
However, of greater significance was the confidence it will provide for AFC Wimbledon’s rising talents after taking a strong Cambridge side apart on the day.
AFC Wimbledon: Joe McDonnell, Callum Wilson, Will Nightingale, Ben Harrison, trialist, David Fitzpatrick, Egli Kaja, Tom Beere, Dan Gallagher, George Oakley (Dan Ano), Ade Azeez.