Under-18s continue superb run, thanks to Stripp
AFC Wimbledon Under-18s extended their unbeaten run to eight matches with a hard-fought victory against Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday.
Man of the match Jason Stripp (pictured) struck what turned out to be the decisive strike in a 3-2 success and it’s now seven wins on the bounce for AFC Wimbledon’s promising crop.
With manager Mark Robinson only arriving back from Manchester in the early hours of Saturday after watching FA Youth Cup opponents Chelsea earn a 5-1 win against Man United, assistant James Oliver Pearce took over the reins.
With a top-six finish in the Football League Youth Alliance secured, the young Dons were set a few new challenges, including playing a 4-4-2 formation that had not been fielded for a while.
minute. Reece Williams-Bowers did well to read a back pass, before showing plenty of composure with a cool finish. It was so nearly two when Williams-Bowers headed a perfect cross from Emmanuel Mensah onto the crossbar and Dan Ano was ruled offside after slotting home.thWimbledon dominated early possession with Seanan McKillop and Stripp pulling the strings in midfield and pressure paid off in the 14
It was 2-0 on the half hour when a corner by Stripp was headed down by Paul Kalambayi and George Marchant converted well from close range. At 2-0 up, the Dons lost their focus though and allowed Daggers to come back into the game. The hosts paid the price for being caught in possession with a quick break resulting in Jordy Mongoy reducing the arrears.
That goal sparked Wimbledon to regain the initiative and it was 3-1 six minutes before half-time when excellent work down the left by Neset Bellikli and a smart cut-back set-up Stripp and he calmly rolled in.
At this stage, it appeared that Wimbledon were coasting to victory, but the hosts became a big gung-ho in terms of committing players forward and it allowed Daggers to exert pressure. A second goal followed when Joe White pounced on a defensive lapse to beat Dons goalkeeper Will Mannion.
The Dons regained control in the latter stages due to a raft of substitutions. Toyosi Olusanya, Alfie Egan and Nathan Wood replaced Bellikli, McKillop and the impressive Williams-Bowers. It was so nearly 4-2 when the excellent Ano fired against a post, but three was just enough in the end.
James Oliver Pearce said: “It was a tale of two halves for us. After an excellent first-half display, we let ourselves down in the second half with some ill-discipline and a lack of focus, making the game closer than it needed to be. The players must continue to realise the reasons why they are in such a good run of form and ensure they don’t slip into bad habits.”