Young Dons end the season as runners-up
Tom Beere struck a 35-yard cracker to end the Final Third Development League campaign on a high.
Taking on a more experienced Southend side at Roots Hall, Wimbledon’s youngsters produced a fine performance to triumph 1-0, and it meant that the Dons finished as runners-up in the South Division.
Will Nightingale continued his comeback after injury by playing for an hour and he did his bit to blunt a Southend attack containing first-teamer Noel Hunt.
Beere found the top corner with a superb effort in the first-half and Toby Sibbick almost doubled the advantage.
Under-18 defender Sibbick also came close to sealing it in the second-half after getting on the end of a cross from the impressive Toyosi Olusanya. However, Wimbledon needed an excellent penalty save from Will Mannion just a few minutes from time to earn victory.
Coach Alan Reeves said: “We had the better chances against a Southend side containing three or four first-teamers. We had tailed off a bit in the last few games, but I was very pleased with the performance today. All the boys did well, but the lads up front worked their socks off to get in behind.
“We are trying to develop our young players and that’s what we’ve used this league for. Other clubs put a lot of first-teamers in and that’s their prerogative, but we are trying to do it the right way. We want to fast-track our young players towards the first-team.”
AFC Wimbledon: Will Mannion, Toby Sibbick, Will Nightingale (Jayden Antwi), Paul Kalambayi, Ben Harrison, Neset Bellikli, Alfie Egan (Seanan McKillop), Dan Gallagher, Tom Beere (Reece Williams-Bowers), Egli Kaja (Judah Chapman), Toyosi Olusanya.