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Young Dons suffer a third League defeat

Great leads the line for under-18s, but disappointed with finishing

29 August 2017

The young Dons got off to a great start by taking the lead through Reece Weekes at Barnet, but eventually slipped to a third successive defeat.

Weekes' stunning opener wasn’t enough, as the hosts scored twice in the second-half to wrap up a 2-1 victory and grab all the points in the EFL Youth Alliance.

“After our goal we had a very good 25 minutes,” said Academy Head of Football Mark Robinson. “Our shape off the ball was good and our pressing was effective. This meant we had good momentum and played some effective football. I told the boys they would come out and try to get at us in the second half as their manager clearly wasn't happy.

“When that happens you need to adapt your play as the things that were bringing you success before may not work for a while. Without playing the game for them you try to get the response you need, but to be blunt some of the lads did not show the common sense to adapt our play to maintain the momentum we had first half.

“We started having too many touches in wrong areas and some players started hiding both on the ball and off the ball. It’s disappointing as there were some very positive performances. Great Evans (pic) led the line very well and he was devastated he did not put the game to bed for us in the first half, but he is a good finisher and he will be fine.

“It was the same with young Rueben Collins who was very good at the back, with the excellent Dean Perana and man-of-the-match Tom Scott. Yet he knows his tackle for the penalty was needless. Both boys are good at honest self reflection though so you know it's not an issue. This is a skill some other members of the squad need to find in everything they do.”

After an even first ten minutes, the Dons worked the ball out wide and Weekes cut in on his left foot and unleashed a great strike from 22 yards that flew into the bottom corner. This gave the Dons a new found confidence and for the next 25 minutes they were better than their hosts all over the pitch.

With good shape and excellent pressing, the Dons continued to win possession and pass the ball effectively. The impressive Evans had two excellent chances to put the Dons out of sight, but unusually his finishing did not match his fine all-round play.

The Dons created other half chances for Bobby Mills and Finlay MacNab, but failed to make their dominance count. For the last five minutes of the half Barnet started to make more of an impression,  but Dons goalkeeper Edward Ogbebor-Onaiwu wasn’t really called into action.

Barnet started the second half much brighter and the Dons struggled to adapt their game as the Bees increased their intensity. The equaliser came in the 55th minute when one of the Barnet midfielders skipped through and hit a great strike into the bottom corner also from around 22 yards.

Barnet now had the Dons on the back foot and looked far more threatening playing good football. The Dons still had chances though and Weekes smashed the underside of the crossbar with a wonderful free kick and Evans had his follow up header cleared off the line.

Barnet won a penalty though in the 72nd minute when their striker, who was running away from goal, was brought down by Collins. The penalty was dispatched coolly.

The Dons did cause some pressure during the last ten minutes when Jack Rudoni missed a one-on-one from eight yards and Dylan Hersey also delivered two inviting crosses that narrowly missed Evans and Donte Lodge Francis.

However, it was not to be and the Dons travelled back from their third away game empty handed.

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