Under-18s just come up short in ultimate test
An improved performance from AFC Wimbledon Under-18s was not enough to prevent Leyton Orient from extending their 100 per cent record on Saturday.
Judah Chapman gave Wimbledon hope from the penalty spot five minutes before the break after Orient had marched into a 2-0 lead inside 20 minutes.
Orient’s goals came from Josh Koroma (two) and Steven Alzate, both players having signed their first professional deals last month.
"We started better than recent weeks, but once again we gave away a sloppy goal with a poor clearance," said Academy Head of Coaching Mark Robinson afterwards. "Then for 20 minutes we got out-fought and out-played. They deservedly got a second, although once again we should have done better.
"Our reaction was good and the last 15 minutes of the half we got into them and got a goal because of that. The first 25 minutes of the second half we completely controlled the game. They are a big side and if we did not always win the first ball we made sure we won the second. We created a lot of chances and half chances with incisive, quick football."
"At last, I was seeing the lads carrying out instructions to a tee and because of that they got to enjoy the ball and create chances. Once again, an error led to their third and we finished the game a little flat and without cohesion. They are obviously flying with nine wins out of nine and as a team appear to be comfortably the strongest in the league. The boys need to look at that 40-minute spell when we were dominant and do everything to recreate it throughout a whole game."
minute with Koroma, who already has a handful of first-team appearances to his name, producing a clinical finish.thVisitors Orient made the breakthrough after 12 minutes with Alzate pouncing on slack defending. The Dons did respond with Anthony Hartigan having a shot saved by the Orient goalkeeper, but it was 2-0 in the 20
With the half hour mark approaching, Orient were dominating with a demonstration of the kind of form that had made them unbeatable. However, five minutes before the break though came a lifeline for Wimbledon. Judah Chapman was brought down in the area and he stepped up himself to dispatch the resulting penalty.
In time added on, it could have been 2-2 when Hartigan fed Reece Williams-Bowers, who put the ball just over the crossbar.
Wimbledon were out of the blocks quickly for the second half and Williams-Bowers had an early opportunity to level the score, before Hartigan was denied. Then Jayden Antwi headed a Nathan Wood free-kick delivery just over as Wimbledon enjoyed a good spell.
Just past the hour mark, Nick Akoto came on for captain Paul Kalambayi and centre back partner Sean Bird took over the captain's arm band. Wimbledon continued to show the intensity and desire required to get something out of the game with Dons man-of-the-match Antonio Walker summing up the effort.
The Dons needed Joe Bursik to keep them in the game as he produced a string of saves midway through the second-half. Callum Phillip replaced Wood and Tino Carpene entered the fray for Walker as Wimbledon went all out for an equaliser. However, Orient sealed it 11 minutes from time when Karoma struck his second.
Tom Scott and Jayden Antwi made way for Ethan Nelson-Roberts and Great Nii Okai Evans with the final five minutes in sight. Evans almost secured a consolation with a shot in the dying seconds, but at the end Wimbledon had nothing to show for their second half efforts as Orient's winning streak continued.
AFC Wimbledon: Bursik, Scott, (Nelson-Roberts), Kalambayi, (Akoto), Bird, Urhoghide, Wood (Phillip), Hartigan, Chapman, Walker (Carpene), Antwi (Nii Okai Evans), Williams-Bowers.