By Rob Cornell
Osaze Urhoghide's powerful last-minute header gave the young Dons a deserved victory over Barnet.
Urhoghide, (pictured right with Great Nii Okai Evans), headed home emphatically to secure a 2-1 win on Saturday, the midfielder getting on the end of a well-delivered Jack Rudoni free-kick.
Wimbledon went ahead just before the quarter of an hour mark in the first-half at the training ground from a header by Evans, but found themselves pegged back just before half-time. Coach Mark Robinson's patched up side worked hard to clinch victory over third in the table Bees, making it three wins from their last four in the Football League Youth Alliance South East.
"It was a great delivery for the winner and another good header from Osaze," said Mark after. "We had eight injuries, so we had a right winger trialist playing right back, two under-16s starting and an under-15.
"I said to the boys before the game these are the sort of situations our club was built on and they should thrive on it and show they are all in it together and make it happen for each other. I am pleased to say apart from 20 minutes where I had to drive it too much, they showed a good mentality.
"All the youngsters did well - in particular Archie Proctor, making his debut, who played with an assurance and attitude that said to me I want to be up here with the 18s to stay.
"We played pretty well the first 30 minutes, there was good intensity and we looked a threat. I was happy with the goal as it's the type of goal we do not score enough of with the players we have.
"My assistant James Oliver-Pearce has been working on the forwards movement and Great did well to get on the end of a very good cross and it was a proper centre forward's header. We got sloppy on the ball for the last 15 minutes of the half and that is how their counter attack goal come about.
"The second half become very difficult as we were against a gale force wind. I kept encouraging the boys to find a way to find their rythmn and after a difficult first 20 minutes we did that and played well in difficult circumstances.
"Jack Rudoni, Donte Lodge-Francis and Great Evans were a big part of that as Jack added composure and Donte and Great started looking after the ball and bringing Ethan Nelson-Roberts into the game and they could not cope with Ethan's energy."
Dylan Adjei-Hersey supplied the assist with a cross for Evans, who headed home powerfully for the lead after 13 minutes. The goal came about from Wimbledon's first meaningful attack.
On 25 minutes, an Ethan Nelson-Roberts free-kick was headed narrowly wide by Bobby Mills as the Dons just missed out on doubling their lead.
Wimbledon grew in confidence and now had better shape about them, with tricky winger Tyler Burey and defender Jack Currie looking more effective on the left. Nelson-Roberts started dominating midfield with half-time approaching.
Barnet, however, ended the first period level. A ball across the penalty area was driven home for the equaliser with a minute to go by Greg Adinna. Proctor and Currie didn't let the setback affect their game though - with Proctor standing out at centre-back on full debut at this level.
Mark Robinson highlighted the support required for Nelson-Roberts and Urhoghide in midfield from the forward players, during his half-time team-talk.
Wimbledon came under early pressure after the break, with the increasingly windy conditions playing a part too as Barnet looked to test Tom Miles in the Dons goal.
Wimbledon's task was made harder by having to play into the strengthening wind. Miles made a flying save to punch clear after 58 minutes. Lodge-Francis replaced Mills on the hour and Miles pulled off another impressive save from close range.
While Barnet failed to capitalise on the wind assistance, the Dons looked to halt the visitors dominance by introducing Rudoni for the last quarter of the game, replacing Adjei-Hersey.
Burey and Lodge-Francis both made surging runs on goal that were saved close in on goal. With fifteen minutes to go, Wimbledon had Barnet pegged back as they looked to restore their early lead. The frustration from the Barnet dugout became clear.
Matters threatened to boil over with five minutes to go, as Dean Perana was one of two players booked when there was a tussle on the ground.
Wimbledon had the final word though. They clinched victory when Burey was fouled and Rudoni's excellent free-kick into the box was headed home superbly by Urhoghide, giving the Dons three more points as their season revival continued
AFC Wimbledon: Miles, Currie, Perana, Proctor, Spencer-Clarke, Burey, Nelson-Roberts, Urhoghide, Adjei-Hersey (Rudoni), Mills (Lodge-Francis), Nii Okai Evans.
Wimbledon face an away tie at Marlow in the First Round proper of the FA Youth Cup. The date for the tie is to be confirmed, but is set to take place in early November.