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Dons edged out by Gills

30 August 2016

Under-18s suffer second defeat this season

AFC Wimbledon Under-18s paid the price for poor decision-making in key areas of the pitch in Saturday’s narrow defeat against Gillingham.

That was the verdict of assistant manager James Oliver-Pearce after an early goal from Gillingham’s Leroy Hlabi earned a 1-0 win for the hosts and meant a second Football League Youth Alliance defeat of the season for Wimbledon.

“Gillingham always represent a realistic physical and psychological challenge and for the most part it was one we stood up to,” said Oliver-Pearce. “We must ensure though that we do not get caught up in the heat of the game in certain situations and focus on maintaining our style and game plan. The difference between us getting a result today or not was due to our decision-making in key areas of the pitch.

“Despite the result, both management teams agreed a draw would have been a fair reflection on the game. However, we must do more to control our own destiny and ensure we stay switched on from start to finish.”

What turned out to be the only goal came in the ninth minute when a defensive lapse allowed Hlabi through on goal and he rounded Josef Bursik before slotting home. The equaliser so nearly arrived just before half-time when Great Nii Okai Evans, who was making his first start, was put through by the lively Antonio Walker, but he cracked his shot against a post.

A change of shape in the second-half helped Wimbledon gain more control of the match, but the Dons failed to find a cutting edge to match their promising approach play. Gillingham held on and Wimbledon will be aiming to do better at home to Cambridge United on Saturday.

Man of the match for Wimbledon was Antonio Walker.

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