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Will stars in Orient draw

12 April 2016

Defender steps up fitness in development match

Will Nightingale played his part in a solid defensive display as AFC Wimbledon had to settle for a point in the Final Third Development League today.

Centre-back Nightingale (pictured) stepped up his recuperation from a knee injury by featuring for an hour in the 0-0 draw against Orient at Merstham FC.

Connor Smith also completed 60 minutes on his way back from a thigh injury.

Coach Alan Reeves said: “It was good for both of them to get an hour under their belts. Will was really good during his time on the pitch. He was very dominant and so too was his centre-back partner Paul Kalambayi. Will led by example and he was very vocal.

“Overall, it was not a great spectacle. The pitch was really bobbly and that meant there were not really any great passing moves. I was quite pleased though because it’s another clean sheet and if any team was going to win it in the second-half it was us.

“I said to the boys beforehand that they conceded three goals from set-pieces last week and it could not happen again. They are young players, but they cannot be making the same mistakes all the time. Hopefully, they have got that out of their systems now. You can always take positives and it was good to get a clean sheet. Our two young lads also worked very hard up front. It would have been nice to have got a goal, but it was not to be.”

In a game of few chances, Wimbledon came closest to winning it in the latter stages when Ben Harrison put over a fine cross for David Fitzpatrick, but his header was off target. Toyosi Olusanya also had a goal-bound shot blocked, but it finished in a stalemate.

The result means Wimbledon stay third in the South Division, just two points behind Southend and leaders AFC Bournemouth, but with a game in hand.

AFC Wimbledon: Will Mannion, Emmanuel Mensah, Paul Kalambayi (George Pilbeam), Will Nightingale (Toby Sibbick), Ben Harrison, Neset Bellikli (Dan Ano), Connor Smith (Alfie Egan), Dan Gallagher, Jason Stripp, David Fitzpatrick, Toyosi Olusanya.

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