Match report: narrow defeat for our Under-21s
AFC Wimbledon this afternoon suffered a first defeat this season in the Central League Cup South group phase with a goal from Norman Wabo winning it for Southend United.
Without the defensive talents of Toby Sibbick and Paul Kalambayi due to their involvement in the FA Youth Cup, Wimbledon were eventually beaten 2-1 after Toyosi Olusanya had finished off a well-worked team move to level the score.
Defeat was harsh on Wimbledon with Southend goalkeeper Josh Bexon making a string of fine saves to deny the hosts in a match played at our training ground.
Tom Beere, who produced a display full of energy and drive in midfield, came closest for Wimbledon early on when he drove just wide. In other moments of promise, Alfie Egan came close to diverting Egli Kaja’s cross towards goal, before Beere had another effort well saved by Bexon. Beere was at the heart of all Wimbledon’s best moves in the first-half and his lovely approach play set-up Egan, who struck a powerful low drive that Bexon did well to tip wide.
Beere and Egan had combined well to help Wimbledon establish superiority in the first-half, the pair building on their good work together for the first-team at Chesterfield. However, Southend opened the scoring just before the break. Though it came against the run of play, there was no doubting the quality of the goal as Harry Phillips found the top corner with a lovely curled free-kick, Joe McDonnell left with no chance.
minute ended with Kaja sending over a lovely cross for Olusanya, who headed home powerfully past Bexon.thThe Dons came out firing at the start of the second-half and it was so nearly 1-1 when Dean Perana was denied from close-range by the Bexon. With George Oakley’s hold-up play offering a good basis for attacks, Wimbledon continued on the front foot. Oakley’s flick-on gave Egan another decent sight of goal, but his effort was just too high. However, it was only a temporary reprieve for Southend as the equaliser followed shortly afterwards. A good team move in the 54
More fine work from Beere then created a good chance for Oakley, who had his shot saved, before Bexon also denied Dan Gallagher. The Dons were hit by a sucker-punch shortly afterwards though when Wabo struck from close-range to get on the end of a cross from the right.
Wimbledon still had 25 minutes to find an equaliser, but it just eluded them in the end. Olusanya and Bellikli combined well on the left and the latter’s cross was almost turned in by Kaja. Then Bellikli, who was playing in an unfamiliar left-back role, sent over a teasing cross that no one was able to get on the end of. Wimbledon’s final chance came when a cross from Bellikli was knocked back at the far post by Johnville Renee Pringle for Beere, but his shot was saved by Bexon. The Dons ran out of time in pursuit of an equaliser, but there was nothing wrong with the overall performance and it was Wimbledon’s first defeat in the competition this season after two previous wins so far.
AFC Wimbledon: Joe McDonnell, Johnville Renee-Pringle, Seth Owens, Dean Perrana, Neset Bellikli, Egli Kaja, Tom Beere, Dan Gallagher, Alfie Egan (Osaze Urhoghide), Toyosi Olusanya (Great Nii Okai-Evans), George Oakley.
Pic credit: Rob Cornell.