Jayden Antwi notches his fifth goal of pre-season
AFC Wimbledon Under-18s maintained their impressive pre-season form in style with an emphatic win against FAB Academy.
The Dons marched to a 7-1 victory at Bisham Abbey against a side who had previously beaten Oxford United, Cambridge and Crystal Palace during pre-season. Jayden Antwi (left above with manager Mark Robinson) and Judah Chapman led the charge as they both struck doubles.
A resounding win followed a gallant 4-3 defeat at Norwich City and the young Dons will be aiming to maintain the momentum at Boreham Wood tomorrow against an academy side managed by Wimbledon favourite Luke Garrard.
Taking on a side managed by former Reading Academy coach Nas Bashir, FAB Academy made a bright start on Sunday and took the lead after just two minutes. However, a good response followed from the Dons and an excellent move involving Antwi and Dan Ano set-up Chapman and he finished clinically for the equaliser.
There was better to come from Wimbledon and it was Ano again at the heart of it as he beat his marker with a lovely piece of skill, before pulling the ball back for Reece Williams-Bowers and he made no mistake from 12 yards.
It was a different half now from what that opening spell suggested as Wimbledon’s back three of Paul Kalambayi, Toby Sibbick and George Marchant formed a solid base and Jason Stripp, Chapman and Bowers controlled midfield. With wing-backs Emmanuel Mensah and Kwai Marsh-Brolin offering good outlets, there was plenty of service for Antwi and Ano up front.
It was 3-1 when Chapman reacted quickest to steer home after a strike from Ano had been parried and the two-goal advantage was maintained when Jack Wingate made a fine save on his debut in goal for Wimbledon.
The Dons effectively killed the match as a contest with an impressive spell before half-time when Antwi showed what he is all about once again. First, Antwi chased a lost cause to force a defensive mistake and cracked home a wonderful strike from an acute angle. Then the young striker grabbed his fifth goal in a prolific pre-season after a fourth assist of the day from Ano.
Wimbledon were forced to defend for 15 minutes at the start of the second half, before a change of formation from 3-5-2 to 3-4-3 started to take effect. Changes in personnel gradually worked for the better with 15-year-old Anthony Hartigan, Louie Cockle and Antonio Walker joining Stripp to form an effective midfield and Nathan Woods and Toyosi Olusanya showing what they could do on the flanks.
It was 6-1 with 17 minutes left, thanks to the goal of the game. A brilliant team move was started by Cockle, who released Tino Carperne with a lovely scooped pass and though the 15-year-old substitute’s shot was blocked, Olusanya smashed home emphatically. There was still more to come as Walker added a seventh when he cut inside and finished superbly with his weaker left foot.
Mark Robinson said: “There was a lot to be happy about against a very good side. People will look at the result and think the game was easy, but that was their first defeat in five games and they have been playing against professional academies. The boys had to work hard for the result.
"I continually emphasise to them that they have to earn the right to play good football by doing the things off the ball that they probably don’t find to be enjoyable. We certainly did that and I hope they have seen the rewards it can bring as some of the football played and goals scored were delightful. Nobody is getting carried away though and we have two tough games coming up in the next seven days, both offering different challenges.
“I was very pleased with the Under-16s who stepped up and we finished the game with three 15-year-olds and one 14-year-old. They all looked very comfortable.”
Man of the match for Wimbledon was Toby Sibbick.
AFC Wimbledon Under-18s travel to Boreham Wood tomorrow (1.00 pm kick-off) and on Sunday they face Tooting & Mitcham's first-team (12 noon kick-off on the back 3G pitch at Imperial Fields).