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Young Dons have plenty to learn after Spanish test

Defeat for Wimbledon in tour opener before back-to-back games

7 August 2017

Academy Head of Football Mark Robinson feels there is still plenty of room for improvement, after a defeat in the opening friendly of the under-18s Spanish tour.

The young Dons lost their first game to the junior set-up of La Liga club CD Leganes, eventually going down 2-0, ahead of two more games this week against the youth teams of Alcorcon and European giants Atletico Madrid.

"Apart from the last twenty minutes in the first half there was very little to be positive about," said Mark afterwards. "During that spell the players showed some understanding of what we have been working on and that gave us the foundation to play some half decent football, enjoy the ball more and create some good chances.

"The rest of the game we showed very little understanding of what we have been working on and it resulted in the players being tired when we did get the ball. Our transition became non-existent, so it just became a hard slog in the heat. Obviously they put out nearly two different sides, but that should not have had the bearing it had if we were more intelligent.

"The whole tour so far has been a complete eye opener for me and I am hoping for the boys. Players need to look at themselves and take responsibility. The humbleness, sincerity and love of the game we are met with, on every visit we make also highlights issues we face.

"It's all positive as opening ourselves up to new experiences and cultures can only improve us, but that's only if the boys are willing to take on board the learning we provide them with and take on responsibility to change.

"I am confident things will improve, but it will only get tougher as we face two games in 24 hours - with at best five substitutes - and one of those games is versus Atletico Madrid. With adversity though can come success - if everyone is highly professional and in it together".

The Dons found it hard going in the first twenty minutes of the first half and relied on goalkeeper Edward Ogebor-Onaiwu to make two fine saves as well as some good defending from Tom Scott and Dean Perana.

For the last twenty minutes of the half, the Dons found better shape and started to enjoy better possession. This resulted in them creating several good chances with Great Evans twice going close and Osaze Urghoghide produced a good header. A lot of the threat was down the Dons right with Dylan Hersey doing well.

The second half saw Leganes make eight changes and with the Dons having only three fit substitutes available, the home side grew in domination. The young Dons became stretched on too many occasions, but it was a header from a corner that saw them go behind in the 62nd minute.

The tourists then struggled to get any kind of foot hold on the game and fell further behind in the 80th minute after some poor defending resulted in a Leganes wide player forcing a way through three challenges. The last ten minutes of the game were non eventful, as both side struggled in the 38 degrees temperature.

It certainly had been a learning experience for Wimbledon, who will need to sharpen up on all aspects of their approach play ahead of a much greater test.

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