First-team players show their quality
AFC Wimbledon turned on the style in the Premier League Cup qualifying round tonight with doubles from Dominic Poleon and David Fitzpatrick leading the charge.
Substitute Jayden Antwi was also on target in a 5-0 win that was achieved with Jon Meades and George Francomb both getting 90-minute run-outs.
Though Wimbledon had more experience in their ranks than Wigan in this Under-23 competition, the manner of performance was very encouraging with a crop of first-teamers boosting their claims.
It also meant that Wimbledon are just one more round away from reaching the group stage of the national competition and it was an entertaining display for those supporters in attendance.
AFC Wimbledon’s starting line-up contained eight players with first-team experience and it offered them a chance to impress Neal Ardley, who was watching in the stands.
Dan Lavercombe. However, it didn’t take long for Oakley’s strike partner Dominic Poleon to make an impact as he struck the all-important opener in the 17th minute. Latching onto a great through ball from George Francomb, Poleon showed impressive pace to close in on goal, before finishing clinically. It didn’t take long for Wimbledon to show attacking threat and it could have been 1-0 in the 12th minute when George Oakley got free of his marker, but his shot was too close to Wigan goalkeeper
Facing a young defence, Poleon was showing a particularly ruthless edge and he pounced on a stray Wigan pass to set-up the second for David Fitzpatrick, who produced a crisp low finish past Levercombe. Wimbledon came tantalisingly close to making it three in style when Francomb sent over a lovely cross from the right that Oakley met with a soaring header, but it bounced off the crossbar.
Another speedy run from Poleon almost took him through the Wigan defence again, but this time he was just denied. At the other end, Wigan finally created a chance when Danny O’Brien was denied by a fine save from James Shea and referee George Warren waved away appeals for a penalty when the two players went for the rebound. However, Wimbledon rounded off the half strongly and earned the reward of a third goal. Tom Beere and Jon Meades combined to provide a shooting chance for Poleon and he produced a powerful finish that left Levercombe with no chance.
It had been a tough first-half for a young side from Wigan, who included just three players with first-team substitute appearances under their belts. Nevertheless, the likes of Francomb, Poleon and Meades had all shown quality in abundance to enhance their first-team claims.
Wigan improved after the break and Shea was forced to make another save, the Dons goalkeeper holding onto a header from Sam Cosgrove after good work down the wing by O’Brien. Though the visitors pressed and had their best spell of the match, Wimbledon once again found the cutting edge and in superb fashion too. This time Poleon turned creator by finding Fitzpatrick in space and he produced an excellent angled drive with his left foot that left Levercombe with no chance.
Coach Alan Reeves made his first change in the 67th minute when Jayden Antwi entered the fray for Oakley. Wimbledon continued to pour forward and the impressive Francomb put over a superb low cross that was just begging to be finished off, but no one was there to apply the finish. Levercombe was twice called into action in quick succession with Fitzpatrick and Antwi both denied a fifth. At the other end, Shea was called into action to deny Kieran Nolan, but that didn’t stem the flow as Wimbledon went all out for another.
With 10 minutes to go it was 5-0 when Fitzpatrick squared the ball to Tom Beere and though his shot was beaten out by Levercombe, Antwi reacted quickly to steer home from close-range. Though Wimbledon had more experience on the night, the quality of play and finishing prowess was particularly impressive.
AFC Wimbledon: James Shea, Toby Sibbick, Jon Meades, Alfie Egan (Seanan McKillop), Will Nightingale, Paul Kalambayi, George Francomb, Tom Beere, George Oakley (Jayden Antwi), Dominic Poleon, David Fitzpatrick.
Pic credit: Micah Crook.