Man of the Match Tino led the way at Daggers
Goals from Antonio Walker and Jayden Antwi helped the Under-18s bounce back from their FA Youth Cup disappointment with victory at Dagenham & Redbridge.
Manager Mark Robinson was delighted with the attitude shown by his players in the 2-0 victory, which was achieved with six first year Under-18s in the squad.
With Paul Kalambayi and Toby Sibbick both back with the Under-21s and Anthony Hartigan having picked up an injury in the extra-time defeat at Preston, younger players were given an opportunity.
Taking on a Dagenham side including four players with first-team experience, Wimbledon started on the front foot and earned reward inside two minutes.
Antonio Walker forced the Daggers keeper into an error, before finishing clinically from a tight angle. In a first-half Wimbledon domination, the outstanding Tino Carpene (pictured) was at the heart of the best attacking moves. At the other end, Dagenham always carried a threat and Wimbledon’s back three had to stay alert as the hosts upper their levels before the break. Daggers continued to put pressure on at the start of the second-half, but the Dons had Joe Bursik in commanding form between the sticks, the young goalkeeper taking several crosses.
goal of the season. In the last 15 minutes, there was the bonus of providing young centre-back Reuben Collins with experience at this level.nd minute when Jayden Antwi struck his 22thThough the Dons had less possession in the second-half, a vital second was almost secured when Carpene’s shot brought out a wonderful save from the Daggers keeper after a brilliant pass from Judah Chapman had set-up the chance. However, the Dons were not to be denied a second and it came in the 90
Tino Carpene earned the man of the match award for an impressive forward display.
Mark Robinson said: “The boys were hurting badly after Wednesday as they knew they had missed a great opportunity to reach the quarter-final of the FA Youth Cup. Watching the highlights did not help as they saw a few of the decisions that went against us, particularly the disallowed goal. We had a great meeting on Friday though when we discussed only the things in our control. They were very honest and every single player admitted we could have done more to win the game. All I asked for is that they showed me character on the pitch and a love for the game. I did not want them to wallow in self-pity.
“The players were outstanding. They played the game like it was a cup final against a very good side containing players with first team experience. I was very proud of every single one of them. It will not feel like it just yet, but if their attitude to learning is right, Wednesday night could end up being a great lesson in their future development. It was a very positive end to the first part of the season. We have lost just four in 22 games and kept five clean sheets in a row in the league. We will now look to blood more Under-16s during the remainder of the season and push more Under-18s into the Under-21 set-up.”