One is just enough for young Dons
It was a different kind of performance from AFC Wimbledon Under-18s yesterday as the young Dons earned a hard-fought victory at Boreham Wood.
Manager Mark Robinson felt that his side let their standards slip in a 1-0 win at Boreham Wood Under-19s after they struck seven to win so emphatically at FAB Academy on Sunday.
However, he did point to several second half plus points with the huge positive of Louie Cockle’s return to form after he missed the whole of last season with a broken leg. Midfielder Cockle was instrumental in the winner from Reece Williams-Bowers that proved the difference between the two sides.
Following a frenetic start from both sides at Boreham Wood, chances were few and far between in the first half. The hosts did threaten to take the lead early on, but the Dons came into it as the first half progressed with Jayden Antwi, Dan Ano and Judah Chapman all going close. However, Boreham Wood looked the likelier side to make a breakthrough before half-time.
Changes ensued from both sides at the interval and Wimbledon started much brighter in the second half with Jason Stripp, Antonio Walker and Cockle controlling midfield and linking up well with Antwi and Williams-Bowers. Antwi, Walker and Bowers all came close to that elusive first goal, the latter striking a fierce shot from just outside the area that was brilliantly saved.
The Dons searched for a second goal, but Jack Wingate was required to make a smart save to deny Boreham Wood an equaliser. minute when the impressive George Marchant headed across goal from Cockle’s pinpoint corner and Williams-Bowers forced the ball over the line. thHowever, the deadlock was broken in the 68
With Boreham Wood pressing hard for a leveller near the end, Wimbledon needed Toby Sibbick to be at his best as he once again produced a commanding display at the back.
Manager Mark Robinson felt that his side’s improved second-half display warranted the victory, but he was disappointed with the first 45 minutes.
“After Sunday’s performance, it was a bit of a come down, but Boreham Wood always provide tough opposition and that’s why we come here every pre-season," Mark said. "In the first half we lacked transition, our movement was one dimensional in an attacking sense, and we were therefore predictable. This also led to some poor decision making on the ball and the detail in our passing was way off.
“Defensively, we were hesitant and it could have cost us a couple of goals as we caused ourselves problems. The second half for the first half hour was much better. Our movement was more inventive and we moved the ball quicker to create good opportunities. Defensively, we were much more positive and we never really looked in much danger, apart from a couple of set pieces near the end.
“I have my views on why we dropped our standards in the first half, but I will talk to the boys and get their opinions on what happened. They are an honest bunch, but it’s important we get things resolved because on Sunday we are playing a good men’s side, who will relish the indecision we showed in the first half. It was a real positive to watch Louie Cockle getting back to his old self after 10 months out with a broken leg.”
Toby Sibbick earned the man of the match award again for another assured display in defence.
AFC Wimbledon Under-18s take on Tooting & Mitcham United’s first-team on Sunday (12 noon kick-off). The match takes place on the back 3G pitch at Tooting & Mitcham.