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Late rally defeats Pompey

3 April 2017

Goals from Carpene and Kalambayi earn dramatic victory

minute strike from Paul Kalambayi capped a fantastic late fightback from our Under-18s against Portsmouth on Saturday.thA 90

minute, before Kalambayi (pictured) secured a last-gasp 2-1 victory.thTrailing 1-0 edging towards the latter stages, the young Dons appeared to be heading for an undeserved defeat, but Tino Carpene equalised in the 86

In the first-half, Wimbledon failed to make the most of superior possession. A feature of Wimbledon’s play was that Reece Williams-Bowers and Antonio Walker continually found space, releasing Nathan Wood and Nick Akoto down the flanks, but there was a lack of cutting edge in the final third.

Dons goalkeeper Edward Ogbebor-Onaiwu was called into action in the 20th minute when he made a fine save to deny Pompey taking the lead after Wimbledon failed to deal with a throw-in. It was only a temporary reprieve as more slack defending from a free-kick allowed Matt Mayes space and he finished clinically to make it 1-0 to Pompey. In response, Williams-Bowers and Great Nii Okai Evans both came close to an equaliser, but Wimbledon went in at half-time behind.

Wimbledon started the second-half with greater intensity, forcing Pompey to defend deep, as Anthony Hartigan and Judah Chapman dominated midfield. Half chances were created for Evans, Wood, Williams-Bowers and Akoto, but without reward. With 24 minutes remaining, Carpene was introduced for Evans and he had an immediate impact. Almost immediately, Carpene shot wide after more excellent play by Walker.

With the Dons camped in the Pompey half, but time running out, Callum Phillip replaced Williams-Bowers on 73 minutes and shortly afterwards Ethan Nelson-Roberts came on for Wood. In a final throw of the dice to make their dominance pay, Osaze Urgohide replaced Chapman as part of a change in shape, Kalambayi sent forward to play alongside Carpene. Kalambayi nearly made an instant impact as he weaved past two players in the penalty area and had his shot blocked. With Wimbledon committing so many players forward in search of an equaliser, Pompey almost capitalised with a quick break, but Sean Bird made a vital last-ditch tackle.

minute Ethan Nelson-Roberts combined cleverly with Carpene, who crossed for Kalambayi to steer home superbly from eight yards. Pandemonium ensued as every Dons player, including the players substituted, celebrated minute when the impressive Toby Sibbick drove forward, before finding Walker, who back-heeled to Akoto, and his cross was finished off with a brilliant volley from Carpene. The Dons flooded forward in search of a winner and a wonderful dipping volley from Anthony Hartigan produced an equally impressive save from Nick Hall in the Pompey goal. The Dons were not to be denied though and in the 90thA great team move earned the equaliser for Wimbledon in the 86

Manager Mark Robinson said: “We played some good football first-half, but the quality of our final ball or shot was not good enough. We were also not aggressive enough in our penalty area and they were too much of a threat from set pieces and long throws. Our other issue was that we were not getting our pressing quite right due to our back three not being pro-active enough in their positional play and communication. The second-half we got that right, which meant we got our wing backs 20 yards higher, allowing us to press properly and get compact around the ball.

“We were literally camped in their half for 45 minutes and I can only remember a few occasions where they had any meaningful possession in our half. One of those was a counter attack from our corner when we were chasing an equaliser near the end of the game. I am so pleased the lads got the victory they deserved. We totally dominated the game last week and only got a point. To control the game again for such long spells and not pick up all three points would have been a real kick in the teeth for the boys.”

Man of the Match for Wimbledon was Antonio Walker.

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