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Victory joy for young Dons

20 October 2016

Under-18s earn elusive win

AFC Wimbledon Under-18s battled back from an early deficit on Tuesday to secure a first league victory since 13 August.

Goals from Man of the Match Nick Akoto and Anthony Hartigan secured a 2-1 win at Peterborough, the young Dons coming from behind to win just hours before the first-team did the same at Bury.

Wimbledon had fallen behind in just the second minute when Alfie Connor fired home emphatically from 12 yards.

Manager Mark Robinson (pictured centre above) believes that his squad has overcome a big psychological barrier after so long without a win.

“It was quite obvious that the lack of victories had been playing on the minds of the boys so I am really pleased for them,” said Mark. “On a difficult surface, we were pretty dominant for most of the game. It's very important the boys still focus on key points and the reality that we got off to another poor start due to specific reasons. Apart from being more ruthless, we got a lot of what we work on at training right, hence why we were dominant and got ourselves into a winning position.

“The quality of our two goals was excellent and again it was great to see two things we work on continually come off in a game because it gives the lads self-belief to do it more. Despite our dominance, we still nearly shot ourselves in the foot with a lapse of concentration and the lads need to remember that.

“I have said all season we have talented players that need to learn what is required to win football matches, while we give them a platform to develop and express themselves. We certainly have not been poor. We still have talented players that now need to learn to win football matches on a regular basis. We have been dominant in other games. We just did better off the ball for longer and did more to get on the score sheet in their penalty area.”

The Dons showed a spirited response after falling behind, most notably when Akoto produced an excellent run and cross to set-up Hartigan, who had his shot saved by Dion Curtis-Henry. It was the spark for Wimbledon to take control of the game with Great Nii Okai Evans, Tino Carpene, Akoto and Hartigan all going close to an equaliser. Wimbledon earned the goal their play deserved just before the half hour with a well-worked goal just before the half hour. Carpene drove inside and played a beautifully weighted pass between the Posh defence to find Akoto, who fired home clinically from 12 yards after a well-timed run.

After restoring parity, Wimbledon continued to dominate with Osaze Urhoghide regularly winning the ball in midfield, allowing Judah Chapman and Hartigan to effect the game further forward. More chances were created for Evans and Carprene, but on 37 minutes the second goal came. A long ball was brilliantly held up by Evans, who worked the ball out wide to Akoto, and his pin-point cross was headed home smartly by Hartigan.

Wimbledon continued the second half with good momentum and once again took control of the game. Joe Bursik was literally a spectator in the Wimbledon goal apart from his excellent distribution. However, in injury-time Wimbledon were caught off guard and it needed Bursik to stay alert when he saved at the feet of Anorta Borg.

Our Under-18s also showed good character three days earlier to fight back for a 1-1 draw at Barnet. Anthony Hartigan struck the equaliser in style when he found the top corner with a superb strike.

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