Another bold display from development side
AFC Wimbledon conceded a late equaliser in the Final Third Development Cup at Brighton this afternoon, but it was another encouraging display from Alan Reeves’ young side.
Wimbledon had to settle for a 1-1 draw with a deflected free-kick earning a point for the hosts at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre. That came after a superb solo goal early in the second half from Dan Agyei had threatened to win it.
However, Alan Reeves was pleased with the way Wimbledon’s youngsters acquitted themselves against a more experienced Brighton squad that included first-teamers Dale Stephens, Kazenga LuaLua and Beram Kayal.
Mark Phillips staked his claim for the first-team by getting another 90 minutes under his belt with a composed showing and Ryan Sweeney (pictured), who has twice been a substitute for the first-team this season, also impressed.
“Brighton scored with the only shot that they had on goal in the whole game and it came through a deflected free-kick that wrong-footed Joe McDonnell,” said Alan. “We played very well. The team pressed high up the pitch and forced their goalkeeper to kick it. The back five played very well. Our defenders were very good with their one-on-one defending and Joe provided good information behind them. The attitude shown by Mark Phillips was superb and he used his experience to help the young lads.
“I’m just a little disappointed that the players did not get the win that they deserved. We had five Under-18s starting and five on the bench. They are all showing that they can cope with the step-up.”
Agyei scored with a brilliant individual effort to add to his haul of 30-plus goals at Under-18 level this season and Alan Reeves felt that the Dons should have been awarded a second half penalty for a foul on the young striker. That proved crucial with Kayal’s late free-kick salvaging a point for Brighton.
The draw meant that AFC Wimbledon’s development side have lost just once in their last eight games.
Joe McDonnell, George Pilbeam, Mark Phillips, Ryan Sweeney, Ben Harrison, Chace Jacquart, Dan Gallagher, Tom Beere, David Fitzpatrick, Egli Kaja (Billy Frost), Dan Agyei. AFC Wimbledon: