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Mark expects better after defeat by Birmingham

Report: Late goal to no avail for young Dons

24 July 2017

By Rob Cornell

Coach Mark Robinson expects plenty of improvement from his new crop of under-18s after a slender defeat at Birmingham City's Academy.

Donte-Lodge Francis netted a consolation five minutes before the end in the pre-season friendly as the Young Dons lost 2-1, before flying off to Spain next weekend for a three-game tour.

"We haven't done any on the ball work in terms of shape and movement patterns," said Mark. "It has all been ball fitness work so I did not expect too much in terms of our style of football.  However, some of our detail was poor and our basic understanding of movement - from lads who should know better - pretty non-existent."

"The sooner they recognise that and buy into our culture, our environment, and train hard and listen, then they will have a great chance of developing.

"On a positive, we did still carve open some good chances in the first half. For the second half, for half an hour, we were pretty much spectators in terms of possession, but due to excellent character from some players we dug in and finished quite strongly.

"We had a few good chances as well as our goal, although I have to stay it was more huff and puff than scintillating football. Some of the young lads did well, but it was an eye opener. We talked after and I told them that most of them are here for a reason and not at Premier League or Championship clubs."

"They saw several former players perform excellently for the first team against Burton and although those players still have loads of work to do, they all came from our Sunday League days or were released by other clubs. It's a great club to be developed at and recognising you have plenty to work on is the first step."

Birmingham had more possession in the first half, but it was an even affair on chances with Ossama Ashley and Tino Carpene having the best efforts for the Dons while goalkeeper Edward Ogbebor-Onaiwu pulled off two good saves at the other end.

The Dons started the second-half brightly, but got hit on a counter attack after losing possession and Birmingham took full advantage to open the scoring after 55 minutes. The visitors were now on the back foot as Birmingham dominated possession. When the second goal came after 60 minutes it looked like being a long second half for the Dons, Birmingham creating further half chances.

However, Wimbledon gradually eased their way back into the game. Ashley had a shot saved when unmarked from 17 yards out. Lodge-Francis raced through and beat the keeper, but shot wide with the goal beckoning and Great Evans volleyed wide from 20 yards.

The Dons, for whom Osaze Urhoghide was the outstanding player, did get a goal back when Lodge-Francis coolly finished in the 85th minute, out muscling the blues defence after good work by Ashley.

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