Oakley continues comeback by completing 45 minutes
Alan Reeves was full of praise for his side’s overall performance after they showed plenty of battling qualities to hold a more experienced Tonbridge Angels team.
An AFC Wimbledon development squad more than held their own on Saturday to draw 0-0 against a competitive senior side with hosts Angels having only just missed out on promotion from the Ryman Premier League last season.
It could have been even better for a squad containing several Under-18s with Paul Kalambayi and George Oakley (pictured left and right above) both going close to winning it.
However, the Dons needed to remain strong at the other end to defy the Angels attack, which included former AFC Wimbledon striker Nathan Elder.
“Toby Sibbick started the game and he did really well alongside Paul Kalambayi,” said Alan. “But the whole team performed well. I watched Tonbridge Angels last season as David Fitzpatrick and Ben Harrison were on loan there and they were a strong, physical side. They were the same on Saturday, but the boys stood up to it well.
“We got beat there 1-0 last summer, but it could have been five or six. I was therefore a bit apprehensive about playing them again, but the boys worked their socks off and competed really well. I told them afterwards that I was really pleased with it.”
Striker Oakley, who continued his recuperation after a broken leg by playing the first 45 minutes, came close to making the breakthrough, but his shot was cleared off the line. Wimbledon came tantalisingly close after the break when Kalambayi cracked a shot against the crossbar, but the visitors also had to defend well to secure a morale-boosting draw in Kent.
AFC Wimbledon: Joe McDonnell, George Casey, Paul Kalambayi, Toby Sibbick, Seth Owens, Egli Kaja (Nathan Wood), Seanan McKillop, Alfie Egan, Neset Bellikli, George Oakley (Jayden Antwi), Toyosi Olusanya (Reece Williams-Bowers).
AFC Wimbledon Under-18s performed with credit for long spells against Corinthian Casuals’ first-team on Friday, before eventually going down 4-0.
minute of the match played at Sutton United, before three late goals made it a harsh scoreline on the night.thIt was 1-0 until the 75
Manager Mark Robinson said: “The lads were very disappointed with the result and I would expect them to be, but there were so many positives on the night. We more than matched a good senior side for long spells. We played good attacking football in the first-half and defended resolutely to keep them at bay. Their first goal came from a tremendous 25-yard strike.
“In the second-half we were dominant for 20 minutes, but our finishing was poor. We had to make several changes with players required for the Under-21s and there’s no doubt it made a difference. That’s not being detrimental to the lads who came in, but we had four 16-year-olds and three 15-year-olds involved. We did lots of good things on the ball, but there are still aspects of our play we need to work on.
“I was very happy with the Under-16 lads who stepped up from Michael Hamilton’s squad. A few of the lads need to up their work-rate and grow up in terms of temperament, but overall I feel extremely positive about them as individuals. They will come together collectively in a relatively short time scale if they keep listening and learning. I wish to thank Corinthian Casuals for giving us the opportunity to play against a men’s first-team. They were great hosts and their fans made for a buoyant atmosphere. We wish James Bracken and his team all the best for the coming season.”