Match report from FA Youth Cup tie
AFC Wimbledon Under-18s marched into the second round of the FA Youth Cup with an impressive victory against Woking at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.
Goals from Reece Batchelor, Neset Bellikli, Dan Ano and Alfie Egan earned a 4-0 win that far from flattered Wimbledon and the Dons produced a brand of attacking football that entertained the crowd.
With Neal Ardley watching on from the stands and also Will Nightingale, who had progressed from this level of football to the first-team, Wimbledon’s youngsters turned on the style.
The young Dons came into this match on the back of an excellent 4-1 win against Cambridge United, but manager Mark Robinson had to make do without one of his key players as striker Jayden Antwi missed out due to injury.
Barely 30 seconds had gone when Woking had an opportunity to open the scoring after Will Mannion came off his line and failed to clear, but Marlon Pinder’s lob sailed over the crossbar. A good response followed from Wimbledon with Toyosi Olusanya leading the charge down the left flank. The speedy winger showed a great turn of foot to get in behind Woking’s defence, but his cross just failed to find one of his team-mates in the box.
minute. Stripp sent over a dangerous corner that was flicked on at the near post and defender Reece Batchelor showed the instinct of a striker to slide in at the far post and steer home.thWith Jason Stripp, Seanan McKillop and Alfie Egan pulling the strings in midfield, Wimbledon had plenty of possession in the early exchanges. There was a cutting edge too as Egan powered through the centre, but dragged his shot wide. However, the Dons never had to wait long to make the breakthrough as the opener came in the 11
minute. Olusanya once again showed Woking’s defence a clean pair of heels and this time his cross was superbly delivered with Neset Bellikli meeting it with a lovely finish that left Woking goalkeeper Luke Terry with no chance. It was a goal that highlighted Bellikli’s adaptability as the left winger was this time playing on the other flank to make room for Olusanya. Though the Dons dominated in the first-half, Woking did occasionally threaten and Dan Mahoney had an effort deflected just wide.thThere was no let-up from Wimbledon after taking the lead and it was 2-0 in the 16
Wimbledon continued to offer plenty of threat down the wings with Olusanya and Bellikli continuing to catch the eye, the latter showing good skill to set-up Dan Ano, who had his shot saved by Terry. However, the Dons struggled to fashion any more chances in the first half as Woking defended resolutely and started to gain a fair share of possession.
The Dons showed their quality after the restart and it was not long before a third goal arrived. Stripp sent over a great cross from the left and Ano met it with a powerful header that Terry failed to keep out, despite getting a hand to it. With the score now at 3-0, Wimbledon started to turn on the style and Paul Kalambayi had a volley that was deflected onto a post. One lovely flick and turn from McKillop earned appreciation from the crowd as Wimbledon grew in confidence.
Despite the score line, Woking refused to be downhearted and it needed a fine save from Mannion to stop Pinder from getting a goal back. At the other end, Alfie Egan, who showed so much energy on the night, played a one-two with substitute Reece Williams-Bowers and his effort was just wide. The introductions of Nathan Wood, Williams-Bowers and Cockle ensured that Wimbledon finished the match strongly, all three playing a part in the latter stages.
It was enterprising play from Wood that set-up the fourth goal as he sped down the left and struck a shot that Terry could only parry into the path of Egan, who earned his reward for an industrious midfield display by tapping home the final goal. Olusanya brought the crowd to its feet with another of his trademark runs down the left, but he shot against a post after doing all the hard work.
There was still time for Mannion to make a good fingertip save to stop Woking captain Tommy Stevens’ long-range effort and there was no lack of spirit from the visitors on the night. However, it had been a fine overall performance from the young Dons and it was a great way to earn a second round tie at home to Gillingham or Ebbsfleet United.
AFC Wimbledon: Will Mannion, Neset Bellikli, David Omperon (Nathan Wood), Toby Sibbick, Paul Kalambayi, Reece Batchelor (Louie Cockle) Jason Stripp, Seanan McKillop, Dan Ano (Reece Williams-Bowers), Toyosi Olusanya, Alfie Egan.
The photograph above shows Neset Bellikli striking the second goal (picture credit: Nick Shaw).