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Loss of focus proves costly for young Dons in league opener

Under-18s slip to defeat at Dagenham and Redbridge

21 August 2017

The young Dons slipped to defeat in their opening EFL Youth Alliance fixture after a couple of lapses in concentration at Dagenham and Redbridge.

"Apart from a bit of pointless petulance I was pleased with the attitude of the players, but they really need to stay in the zone if they are going to fulfil their potential," said Academy Head of Football Mark Robinson (pic) after a 2-0 defeat.

"It was quiet clear why Dagenham have won their first two games and not conceded. They're very organised and strong down the spine of their team. That was the main difference on the day.

"We probably had more and clearer chances, but when we were on the ball our shape was too open so we looked vulnerable at times. When they were on the ball and we won it back they had a better structure and we had to work much harder to create openings.

"That was disappointing because we have worked hard on our shape behind the ball when we have possession giving us a good foundation to be creative.

"There were lots of other little things, but that was the stand out difference between the two sides along with the finishing."

The first half was very even with clear chances a rarity. Edward Ogbebor-Onaiwu pulled off one save for the Dons and Dylan Florence shot narrowly wide for the hosts, while at the other end Ethan Nelson-Roberts came close, Donte Lodge-Francis had a cross shot deflected against the post and man-of-the-match Tyler Burey created a couple of good efforts.

The Dons defended poorly though at a far post corner and David Agboola volleyed home from a header, across the goal, just before half-time. The second half started as even as the first, but in the 57th minute the Dons were caught out of shape from their own throw-in. A loss of possession resulted in Florence cutting in from the right and unleashing an unstoppable shot into the top corner from 19 yards.

Wimbledon reacted well and Great Evans shot inches wide from 14 yards. The visitors were now looking more threatening with every attack, but the organised Daggers defence meant the young Dons often looked vulnerable to the counter attack.

With 25 minutes to go, the Dons brought on all their substitutes and increased the pressure. The Daggers keeper saved well from Jack Rudoni and Nelson-Roberts. Bobby Mills scraped the outside of the post with a shot from 14 yards after a great ball by Richard Mbele. Burey was a constant threat down the left along with 15 year-old Jack Currie getting forward at every opportunity.

Alas the Dons could not make the breakthrough and had to thank Ogbebor-Onaiwu for a good save with seconds to go, which would have put an unrealistic reflection on the score line had it gone in.

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