Under-18s suffer setback at AFC Bournemouth
A brilliant strike from Seanan McKillop proved to be in vain for AFC Wimbledon Under-18s as their 12-match unbeaten league run came to an end.
The young Dons were already 3-0 down before McKillop (pictured in action against Watford earlier this season) got one back and Sam Surridge sealed his hat-trick to earn a 4-1 win for hosts AFC Bournemouth.
With seven changes from the side that beat Exeter City 3-0, Wimbledon got off to the worst possible start when Surridge opened the scoring with just 30 seconds gone after Jack Wingate had saved his initial shot.
Though Wimbledon responded with Nick Akoto and Dan Ano looking a threat, it was 2-0 after just 16 minutes when the visitors lost the ball in midfield and Antonio Diaz finished superbly from 20 yards out. With Jayden Antwi, Reece Williams-Bowers and Akoto getting on the ball, the Dons showed promise, but the final pass or shot was too often lacking in the first-half.
It was 3-0 five minutes before half-time when Toby Sibbick was adjudged to have fouled Surridge inside the penalty area and he picked himself up to make no mistake from 12 yards.
A half-time change saw Emmanuel Mensah introduced for Antonio Walker and the substitute played a part in his side’s bright second-half start. That brought reward when McKillop fired home a free-kick from 30 yards emphatically. That signalled a good spell for Wimbledon and with an hour on the clock manager Mark Robinson made a double change to continue the forward momentum. Judah Chapman and Nathan Wood entered the fray for Akoto and Louis Cockle.
Williams-Bowers and Ano both came close to narrowing the advantage, but a second goal just would not come. With 19 minutes to go, Bournemouth’s first real attack of the second-half resulted in the killer fourth, Surridge sealing his hat-trick with an excellent solo effort. Mensah so nearly capped his impressive second-half with a goal, but he shot just wide after a powerful run and Antwi also just failed to notch a late consolation.
It all meant that Wimbledon slipped down to third spot and lost ground on leaders Leyton Orient in pursuit of the Merit League title.
Mark Robinson said: “We did not look like a team. Off the ball we were not organised enough in the first-half and on the ball we made too many poor decisions in key areas. Some of the lads did not deal with their own personal battles well enough and they need to learn from that.
“They had a strong side out with five boys on professional contracts, but even though none of our boys playing in the game are in that position, we should have been good enough individually and collectively to get a result. We got too many of the fundamentals wrong and we will have the necessary chat about this when everyone’s emotions are in check to see why that happened.”
Man of the Match for Wimbledon was Dan Ano.