Young Dons hit Bournemouth for six
David Fitzpatrick struck a superb second-half hat-trick in less than 25 minutes to provide the highlight of an entertaining development match against AFC Bournemouth.
Fitzpatrick (pictured) hit a quick-fire treble to help the Dons to a 6-2 victory in the Final Third Development League. Dan Ano had earlier opened the scoring for Wimbledon with Egli Kaja also on target and Dan Gallagher completed the scoring with a sixth near the end.
With Neal Ardley watching from the stands at Merstham, Wimbledon’s youngsters turned on the style with Fitzpatrick, who has returned from a loan spell at Tonbridge Angels, showing his attacking quality.
AFC Wimbledon were aiming for another victory at this level against the Cherries after an impressive 3-1 victory in September. Wimbledon started on the front foot with pacy forward Toyosi Olusanya producing early danger as he aimed to build on his excellent recent displays in the FA Youth Cup.
However, the first meaningful chance fell to Bournemouth with Wimbledon fortunate to escape after Jordan Lee powered a shot just over the bar. A good response followed from Wimbledon though and only superb goalkeeping from Bournemouth’s Patrick O’Flaherty stopped the Dons taking the lead after eight minutes. Egli Kaja, who scored the winner last week against Southend, produced a fine run down the right and sent over a cross that David Fitzpatrick met perfectly, but his downward header was well saved by O’Flaherty.
As the first-half progressed, Dan Gallagher and Christian Toonga started to gain plenty of possession and used the ball effectively. With the majority of the first-half spent in Bournemouth’s half, it appeared only a matter of time before Wimbledon took the lead. A good chance to go in front went begging 15 minutes in when Olusanya pounced on a defensive lapse and powered forward, but his shot was tipped around a post by O’Flaherty.
The hosts continued to exert pressure and the opener so nearly came from a corner when Kaja’s cross was met by Ryan Sweeney, but his header was just wide. Bournemouth had been restricted to attacking on the break in the first half hour, but they did cause danger when Jon Muleba broke dangerously down the right, but his cross was well cut-out by Callum Wilson.
minute to restore parity.th minute and it was scored in great style too by Ano. Having scored a cracking goal two days ago for the Under-18s against Stevenage, Ano added another fine goal to his collection when he burst inside from the right and struck a fierce low drive that beat O’Flaherty at his near post. There was no let-up from Wimbledon as they continued to dominate, but Bournemouth snatched an equaliser against the run of play. On-loan River Plate midfielder Tomas Andrade got behind George Pilbeam and was brought down in the box by the Wimbledon full-back. Andrade made no mistake from the spot in the 37thWimbledon deservedly took the lead in the 26
That produced exactly the response that Alan Reeves would have wanted from his side as they piled forward and earned a lead before half-time. Kaja’s explosive run was ended by a foul in the box from Lee and he picked himself up to smash home from 12 yards. It almost got even better when the impressive Kaja burst inside and unleashed a shot that fizzed just wide. However, there was a warning for Wimbledon on the stroke of half-time when Andrade cracked a shot against a post.
The Dons made a half-time change with Nathan Wood replacing Olusanya, who will be aiming to help the Under-18s to FA Youth Cup success against Watford on Friday night. That meant Fitzpatrick was utilised as a forward with Wood on the wing and the change paid immediate dividends. Fitzpatrick pounced on slack defending and made space for himself, before unleashing a powerful drive that O’Flaherty could only help into the net.
Wood was quick to show his quality as a lovely touch created space down the left and his cross fell nicely for Kaja, but his shot was beaten out by O’Flaherty. However, Bournemouth showed plenty of spirit in the second half and they reduced the deficit with a goal of real quality. Jordan Lee struck a superb long-range effort that left Joe McDonnell with absolutely no chance. At 3-2, it was game-on again, but Wimbledon so nearly had the cushion of a fourth when Fitzpatrick was denied by a fingertip save from O’Flaherty.
Wimbledon made another change on the hour when Ano was also brought off due to his forthcoming involvement in the FA Youth Cup and he was replaced by Jason Stripp. Paul Kalambayi entered the fray for Pilbeam with 25 minutes left and that meant Callum Wilson switched to centre-back.
It looked all over 22 minutes from time when Fitzpatrick produced another clinical finish after he was put through by a lovely ball from Kalambayi. However, there was still better to come from that man Fitzpatrick as he rose superbly in the box to seal his hat-trick with a bullet header after a lovely cross from Kaja.
That was still not the end of it though as Dan Gallagher produced a cool finish from close range after being put through by Kaja. It rounded off a very entertaining night of football at Merstham in style.
AFC Wimbledon: Joe McDonnell, George Pilbeam, Ben Harrison, Dan Gallagher, Ryan Sweeney, Callum Wilson, Egli Kaja, Christian Toonga, Toyosi Olusanya (Nathan Wood), Dan Ano, David Fitzpatrick (Seanan McKillop).
AFC Bournemouth: Patrick O’Flaherty, Jon Muleba, Jordan Lee, Josh Wakefield, Corey Jordan, Baily Cargill, Sam Matthews, Matt Butcher, Josh Hanlon (Sam Surridge), Tom Andrade, Jordan Green (Mitchell Steadman).