League campaign looms for young Dons
AFC Wimbledon under-18s stepped up their preparations for the new season with an impressive seven goal display on Saturday.
The young Dons welcomed Club Langley to their New Malden training base and went on to register a 7-0 victory. Run by David Muir, the Crystal Palace Head of Coaching, Club Langley gives former academy players and players with talent the potential pathway back into professional football.
for next week, but once we got our first goal the boys really did play some great football and the standard of the goals were high - although we missed far too many easier opportunities.” “We started a little slowly, but they were lively and caused us some problems,” said manager Mark Robinson. “We will need to iron that out ready
With training ground pitches very dry, Neal Ardley gave both teams the opportunity to play on the much more forgiving first team training surface.
The Dons gradually started to dominate and on 20 minutes after good work by Judah Chapman, Jayden Antwi fed Seanan McKillop who curled home beautifully from 22 yards. This seemed to be the trigger for the Dons to up their game and what followed was 25 minutes of excellent attacking football from them.
After more good football, the impressive Dan Ano beat his man brilliantly out wide and pulled the ball back for the prolific Antwi (pictured with Mark Robinson) to slot home from seven yards. Wimbledon continued to be the dominant force for the rest of the half and the back three of Reece Batchelor, Dom Bongo and George Marchant dealt better with Langley’s lively attackers. Opportunities were being created regularly, but the Dons had to wait until 34 minutes to increase their lead.
to his right and letting fly with a tremendous finish into the corner from 22 yards. The young Dons started the second half with great intent and on 46 minutes Toby Sibbick played out confidently to Jason Stripp who found the impressive Ano. He ran at Langley’s defence from forty yards out firstly cutting onto his favoured left foot, but then cutting back
Wimbledon were now playing with confidence and on 55 minutes Antwi was bundled over in the area and made no mistake with his penalty for his eighth goal of pre-season. On 72 minutes, Ano got the second goal his display deserved. Again fed by Stripp, Ano took one touch past his defender and the second touch past the keeper before stroking home from ten yards. It was not long before it was six.
Nathan Woods and Ano combined to release the pace of Chapman who finished with a delightful chip with his less favoured left foot from 18 yards. The Dons were relentless in their pursuit of more goals and although more chances were created it was man-of-the-match Woods who finished off the scoring on 83 minutes. The 15 year-old received a pass from Chapman and with the ball sitting up he volleyed home brilliantly from 24 yards.
forward runs and movement in the final third, so it was great to see the boys put those elements together to great effect as well as seeing three lovely finishes with players on their weaker foot. “I have been doing a lot of work on the boys being comfortable in possession and playing between lines,” said Mark afterwards. “My assistant James Oliver-Pearce has worked continuously with our strikers and wide players
“It’s difficult in training sometimes because the pitches are naturally very dry due to the weather. The boys now need a fully focused week ahead of their first league game of the season. I am in no doubt of the talent we possess in the squad. It’s whether they can be relentless in their pursuit of excellence that will be the key to what the season brings for them individually and collectively.