Returning full-back scores as U-18s beat Luton
AFC Wimbledon Under-18s extended their unbeaten league run to eight matches with a superb volley from substitute George Marchant sealing victory against Luton.
Marchant (pictured), who missed the FA Youth Cup tie against Chelsea due to a knee injury, marked his competitive return by scoring with his first touch in a 3-1 victory on Saturday.
With Luton Town having an FA Youth Cup quarter-final tie against Blackburn on Tuesday, it was a younger Hatters side than the Dons would normally face.
However, the hosts made a bright start and Wimbledon did well to hold them, before earning a chance to take the lead through a penalty. In-form Reece Williams-Bowers won it after being fouled in the area by the Luton goalkeeper, who redeemed himself with a superb penalty save from the Dons midfielder.
There was no stopping Williams-Bowers shortly afterwards when he made amends with a lovely finish after being set-up by Neset Bellikli. Though Wimbledon looked more likely to score in the remainder of the first-half, Luton asked plenty of questions during the remainder of the first-half.
At half-time the Dons attempted to solve the problems they faced and there was an instant response with a dominant start to the second-half. Ten minutes after the break it was 2-0 through a fine solo effort from Dan Ano, the striker beating two challenges, before producing an impressive angled drive from 18 yards.
Just after the hour, midfielder Seanan McKillop replaced Toyosi Olusanya and there was another change shortly afterwards with Marchant on for David Omperon. That change proved to be significant as Toby Sibbick picked out Marchant with a lovely cross and the full-back gave it the finish it deserved with a brilliant volley.
Though the Dons almost added a fourth when Alfie Egan’s strike was ruled out for offside, Luton did reduce the arrears 20 minutes from time with a goal from Scott Belgrove. Half chances followed for Luton to get back into it, but Jayden Antwi, who replaced the excellent Williams-Bowers, twice came close to a fourth.
Manager Mark Robinson said: “Despite Luton fielding a younger side than normal, they were excellent and it was a really tough game for our boys. Understandably, they played without fear and their formation caused us problems in the first-half as we played with two in midfield. It was important I did not change the formation and the boys corrected what was going on out there themselves.
“We did not quite manage that in the first-half, but at half-time we had a chat about it and up until we gifted them a goal it was a lot more comfortable. My younger boys certainly saw that they will be facing a tough challenge against Luton next season.
“I would like to wish Luton all they very best against Blackburn in the FA Youth Cup on Tuesday night. I tipped them for at least a quarter-final place before the competition started so it would be great to see them go beyond that.”
Man of the Match for Wimbledon was Reece Williams-Bowers.