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James keen to encourage ‘progressive’ football after defeat for U-18s

Coach wants young Dons to maintain focus after setback against Cambridge

7 December 2017

AFC Wimbledon Under-18s assistant manager James Oliver-Pearce said that the focus will continue to be on developing young footballers for the future rather than results, after defeat to Cambridge United.

Wimbledon’s encouraging sequence of results since the FA Youth Cup knockout at Plymouth came to an end last time out, but James said: “We have been trying to cover us being on the ball, but at the same time making sure we are sound and secure at the back. We want to play progressive football, so that the boys have a chance to develop their technical and tactical skills. When you are doing that, there is obviously a risk because you are trying to get the boys on the ball more often. Sometimes it ends in a tight area. For us to get these boys to the level they need to get to, we will continue to encourage them to do that. At the same time, we will strive to be better structurally when we do have possession, and not just when we don’t have the ball.

“Despite the loss against Cambridge there were positives in the way we tried to build through the thirds. When you come up against a side that are well organised and structured you need to keep moving the ball quickly and we needed to be able to do that better in the opposition’s half of the pitch.”

To hear more from James, along with the thoughts of Ethan Nelson-Roberts (pictured above), who made his first-team debut at Yeovil on Tuesday night, click on the link below.

The home game against Cambridge began evenly with both teams getting into good positions, but neither side able to add the cutting edge. In the 30th minute a harsh penalty was awarded to Cambridge United and clinically converted by U’s captain Lee Watkins. Despite a promising start to the second half with the young dons having plenty of possession, Cambridge doubled their lead through a good finish from Sam Bennett.

Man of the match for Wimbledon was Dean Perana.


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