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Late heartbreak for young Dons in FA Youth Cup

AFC Wimbledon beaten at Home Park in national competition

14 November 2017

By Rob Cornell

AFC Wimbledon Under-18s exited this season's FA Youth Cup after two late goals at Home Park booked Plymouth's passage into round three.

The young Dons had a good first-half and took the lead through Tyler Burey (pictured), but Plymouth gave a much-improved performance after the break.

Even though substitute Ayoub Assal put the Dons back in front, the Pilgrims booked a home tie with Manchester City with two further goals in the last five minutes to wrap up a 3-2 victory and avoid extra-time.

Plymouth exerted some early pressure inside the first ten minutes from set-pieces, which the young Dons defence dealt with as the nerves settled. Finding their feet, Burey went on a surging counter attack deep into the Pilgrims half. A fired up Archie Procter took a shot which cleared the crossbar.

By the quarter of an hour mark, both goalkeepers were forced into saves. First Tom Miles, in the Dons goal, got down at his near post to make a save, before Ossama Ashley brought a decent save from Michael Cooper.

There was nothing Cooper could do about Burey's opening goal after 18 minutes though. It was a superb, swerving strike from the edge of the box, to give Wimbledon the lead.

Wimbledon grew in confidence by the midway point of the half with 15-year-old left back Jack Currie joining Burey in becoming a creative threat to the hosts.

With half-time approaching, Plymouth responded, but the Dons defence held firm as Osaze Urhoghide blocked an attack at close range. Burey's trickery and pace continued to cause Plymouth problems on the left, five minutes before half-time.

Miles continued to keep Plymouth at bay, electing to punch clear at times, as Wimbledon were good value for their lead at the break.

As expected, Plymouth went in search of an equaliser after the restart, with Luke Jephcott a continual outlet for Kevin Hodges' side. Nine minutes into the second period and the scores were level as Matthew Ward was supplied inside the area and his shot across Miles beat the keeper.

The goal was just what Plymouth needed and they continued to grow in confidence by the hour mark, with further chances forcing the young Dons back.

Wimbledon needed to change the flow of the game and Mark Robinson made a double substitution with Tyrique Spencer-Clarke and Great Nii Okai Evans replaced by Ayoub Assal and Donte Lodge-Francis. 

Miles pulled off a crucial save from close range to keep Wimbledon on level terms, under the watchful eye of coach Seb Brown in the main stand. With quarter of an hour to go, the second-half had definitely belonged to Plymouth.

However, with eleven minutes left, Burey went on another run and crossed for brave Assal to finish from close range and restore the Dons lead. It was short-lived though as from a corner Tom Purrington's glancing header levelled the scores with extra time looming. 

With just seconds of added time left, Kladl Lolos settled the tie with a dramatic, late winner. Miles parried the initial effort and Lolos finished the follow-up to leave the young Dons deflated and out of this season's competition.

AFC Wimbledon: Miles, Perana, Collins, Procter, Currie, Urhoghide, Ashley, Spencer-Clarke (Assal), Nelson-Roberts, Burey, Evans (Lodge-Francis). 

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