Under-18s march on with another clean sheet
AFC Wimbledon U18s extended their impressive league form with a 1-0 win against AFC Bournemouth.
Reece Williams-Bowers (pictured) struck the decisive goal in the game to make it just three defeats in 21 games for Mark Robinson’s side.
With the back three of Reuben Collins, Tom Scott and Osaze Urhoghide impressing at the back and keeper Joe Bursik offering plenty of assurance, Wimbledon made it eight successive games – 720 minutes of league football – without conceding a goal.
The squad had to cope without seven U-18 players as they were required to play against Middlesbrough in the Under-23 Premier League Cup group stage on Monday. Rueben Collins also gained his second start of the campaign, making it a very youthful back line.
Wimbledon got off to a flying start against Bournemouth, the visitors not helping themselves by making several mistakes as the Dons surged forward. Several half chances were created for Jayden Antwi, Reece Bowers and Nathan Wood. The first 25 minutes were entertaining and the Cherries constantly reminded the Dons of their talent, but the back three of Collins, Tom Scott and Osaze Urhoghide kept them out. When they finally broke through, Joe Bursik pulled off a fantastic save to keep them at bay.
minute with what turned out to be the only goal on the day. Williams-Bowers started and finished an excellent move involving Jayden Antwi and Nathan Wood, the latter crossing superbly for the goalscorer to finish bravely.ndWimbledon put together a brilliant move involving six players and it finished with a great cross from Nick Akotu being met by Jayden Antwi, who forced a great save from the keeper. Home pressure paid off in the 32
As Wimbledon pressed home their advantage, Williams-Bowers was denied by excellent defending and Ethan Nelson-Roberts followed up with a stunning 25 yard volley that was only inches wide.
minute with a stunning shot from 25 yards. The Dons also had more chances through Williams-Bowers, Woods and Carpene to try and extend their lead but one was just enough in the end.th minute. The Dons continued to be a force to be reckoned with and Great Nii Okai Evans continued his impressive form, but with the wind against them, it was far from easy for Wimbledon. There was relief for Wimbledon when Bournemouth hit the post in the 75thThough Bournemouth had the better of it after the break, Wimbledon gradually eased their way back into game. However, Bursik was needed to pull off a great save low down to the left of the goal in the 65
Mark Robinson said: ”I have been absolutely chuffed with the attitude of the boys since the FA Youth Cup defeat. We are constantly having to rotate with a lot of the boys stepping up to play for Alan, but the second years are keeping focus trying to earn contracts. The first years are stepping up to the mark and when you see Rueben put in a performance like that it is very pleasing. The last time Rueben, Osaze and Joe played together, it was the first game of the season and we conceded five. They looked very naïve defensively at this level of football. Then you see them today together and you cannot help but be very pleased with their development.
“We were excellent in the first half and could have been out of sight. In the second-half we had to make a lot of changes and change shape because of it. We lost our rhythm and never got close to the football of the first half but we showed a great resilience and still remained a threat. That’s just three losses in 21, which is impressive, considering the rotation of the squad and the free-flowing style of football we play”.
Osaze Urhoghide earned the Man of the Match award.