Match report as young Dons continue winning run
Midfielder Louie Cockle earned praise from Under-18s manager Mark Robinson after his impressive performance helped the Dons to victory against Leyton Orient.
Alfie Egan was again Wimbledon’s match-winner in a 1-0 success against Orient, but Cockle (pictured right with Mark) had his best game since returning from a terrible injury that kept him out for a whole season.
“It’s been a long journey back for Louie after his double leg break,” said Mark. “Although he has been back in full training for a while now, he has found it frustrating that he has not returned to his effective performances before the injury. He had got himself in a bit of a downward spiral so we sat down and had a long chat a couple of weeks ago. We re-established some slightly longer term targets, rather than him looking just week to week.
“His attitude has been first-class and for the 70 minutes that Louie was on, he effected the game on and off the ball. He know it’s only a small step, but it’s a great foundation for him to kick-on and we’re all chuffed for him.
“Overall, I was interested in how the boys would fare after our FA Youth Cup win against Watford and I did not want it to be a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s Show’. I am happy to say that was not the case. We are trying to educate a winning mentality, while developing them as accomplished footballers.
“We did lose our way with some over-indulgence and indecision, but the lads reacted brilliantly to stern words at half-time. Our back-three and goalkeeper were all first-year scholars and they dealt brilliantly with periods of Orient pressure. They never really opened us up and Jack Wingate’s handling in goal was excellent in dealing with crosses and set-pieces.”
The Dons made four changes from the side that started at Watford, but they were dominant early on with a first 20 minutes that the manager said was ‘excellent’.
Though Orient came back into it and it was evenly-contested for long spells, a moment of real quality earned the points for Wimbledon. George Marchant picked out Reece Williams-Bowers, who took the ball on his chest before brilliantly finding Egan, and he drove away from his markers and finished clinically.
The Dons had to withstand late pressure, but one was just enough to earn a hard-earned victory against a side that occupied third place in the Football League Youth Alliance before this game.
Man of the match for Wimbledon was Reece Williams-Bowers.