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Annual workout benefits both Dons sides

Academy start with win as fans prepare for big tournament

10 July 2017

The annual AFC Wimbledon under-18s versus Wimbledon Fans team fixture not only strengthened the unique bond between both groups, but also proved useful preparation for both sides.

It was the Dons youth team that again came out on top, but the supporters did get on the scoresheet too with a goal from Dan Stevens on the 3G surface at Southfields Academy.

"It's become a pre-season tradition playing the supporters team and it works well for both teams," said Academy Head of Football Mark Robinson.

"The supporters get a work out before their big tournament. For us, after a hard first week, it's great because not only do the new lads get to meet the fans and we can set the boys some tough targets in a game where they will have lots of the ball.

"After the pleasantries our boys always take it seriously and I think the supporters appreciate that. We wish the supporters the best of luck in their tournament next weekend."

"As ever, it was a pleasure to have our annual game against Robbo's side," said Dan Stevens, joint player-manager of the supporters side.

"It's great for us to have that connection, and we've now had the opportunity over the past few seasons to play against players that have gone on to make their first-team debuts for the club, either later in the same season or a couple of years down the line."

"Judging by the quality we came up against, the future for the club is looking very positive, and like always, it's great to see the excellent attitude the youth players have, not just during the game but before and after too.

"We head off to WorldNET (the world's biggest football supporters tournament) next weekend, this year in Nottingham, in good spirits after a very tough workout. The game against the U18s presented a different challenge for us in terms of positioning, communication and defensive discipline, knowing that we are going to see far less of the ball than against our more typical standard of opposition.

"We have to set out to ensure that if and when we are to concede goals it is through quality, and that we remain focused and continue to plug the holes as much as possible.

"I was pleased with our players' application and thought we did well with those aspects considering the relentless pressure we were under."

"The U18s largely created their opportunities through lots of dynamic movement to open up spaces and break us down, rather than having an easy route through to the goal, and that's also important as it makes the exercise worthwhile for Robbo and his side during their early stages of pre-season."

Our photo shows the under-18s and Wimbledon Fans team at Southfield Academy.

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