Under-18s salvage a point after disappointing first-half
AFC Wimbledon Under-18s produced a much-improved second-half display to earn a draw at Cambridge United on Saturday.
Tino Carpene (pictured) netted the equaliser in a 1-1 draw and he came tantalisingly close to a late winner with a fine effort that thudded off the crossbar.
Assistant Manager James Oliver-Pearce said: "The first half was not good enough and the boys know that. We lacked the intensity, aggression and communication that we've seen in recent weeks and they must realise that results don't just happen.
“The second half was much better and we created more than enough good chances to win the game. The reaction was pleasing with the players taking on board all information well. Only four of the boys that played in the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday started and the boys are developing a real squad mentality, where everyone is pushing for starting places in every training session and every game."
During a disappointing first-half for the visitors, Cambridge took the lead, and Wimbledon struggled to make the most of their possession. Nick Akoto showed good vision to set-up Carpene, who shot narrowly wide, and Anthony Hartigan had a shot well saved.
Paul Kalambayi was introduced for the second-half and the Dons started brightly, showing much more fluidity in their play. Just nine minutes after the break, Wimbledon equalised through an impressive team move. A clever chipped pass from the excellent Sean Bird found Great Nii Okai Evans, who picked out Carpene, and he beat the keeper to the ball, before rolling it into an empty net with his second touch.
Carpene struck the woodwork as Wimbledon went all out for a winner, before Dean Perana’s excellent volley was brilliantly tipped around a post. Though victory eluded Wimbledon in the end, it was an encouraging second-half performance to build on.
Man of the Match for Wimbledon was Sean Bird.