Returning striker Kwesi Appiah got an hour of match action under his belt to help AFC Wimbledon's development squad to victory against Cheltenham today.
Levi Shango's brace was the difference in this Central League South fixture at Merstham FC, the Dons triumphing 2-0 against top-of-the-table Cheltenham.
Afterwards coach Alan Reeves gave his thoughts on the victory and the season so far, which can be seen below via a link to our official club YouTube channel.
Alan Reeves had a strong squad at his disposal with Callum Kennedy, Paul Robinson, Will Nightingale and Appiah all starting, as they increased match fitness before Christmas. Nightingale wore the captain's arm band.
Cheltenham fielded a very young side, mainly made up of players from their under-18s squad.
The Dons suffered an early blow when Robinson was forced off having jarred his back after putting in two good early tackles. Paul Kalambayi came on at centre-back.
Wimbledon caused a lot of early pressure, under the watchful eye of Neal Ardley. The Dons were rewarded when Toby Sibbick supplied Shango, who gave the Dons the lead after ten minutes.
Wimbledon continued to pressurise a young Cheltenham team, who worked hard to keep the hosts at bay, the lively Egli Kaja catching the eye for the Dons. Appiah could have doubled the Dons lead three minutes before the break when his powerful header rattled the framework of the goal. The game had been played at a frantic pace, but Anthony Hartigan looked composed again in the middle, helping the Dons to a half-time lead.
Although Appiah didn't get on the score sheet, he clocked up a vital 60 minutes of match fitness ahead of the festive schedule, before being replaced by Jayden Antwi.
The Dons had to work hard in the second-half against a resolute Robins side. Callum Kennedy put in a shift defensively and down the wing as he offered encouragement to his younger team mates.
There were further opportunities for Richard Pingling, Nightingale and Kaja, but the Dons finally saw off Cheltenham when Kaja did well to set up Shango's second in the 89th minute.
AFC Wimbledon - McDonnell, Sibbick, Kennedy, Hartigan, Nightingale, Robinson, (Kalambayi), Kaja, Egan (Nelson-Roberts), Appiah (Antwi), Pingling (Ashley). Shango.