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Keeper Edward impresses on a tough day for young Dons

Nigerian youngster keeps score down for ten-men Wimbledon

4 September 2017

Edward Ogbebor-Onaiwu was in top form for the young Dons as he did his best to keep Gillingham at bay, but the Nigerian goalkeeper couldn't prevent another defeat.

Academy Head of Football Mark Robinson was left very disappointed with the performance of his side, after ten-men Wimbledon went down 1-0 in their first home league game of the season.

"Taking into account the potential talent we have, the first 22 minutes was without doubt the worst under-18s performance I have witnessed," said Mark afterwards.

"If it wasn't for Edward in goal, we could have easily been four goals down. Once we went down to ten men we did improve and if you looked at that 68 minutes in isolation you would have to feel positive. With ten men we restricted them to very little and we managed to create some decent opportunities.

"However, to ignore the first 22 minutes would be dangerous because the problems the players face as individuals and as a squad were so evident in that opening spell.

"We will remain positive though as we do have potential talent throughout the squad. It's up to myself and my staff to work out ways of developing that potential talent, but also for it to work we need to see that some of the players want it more than we do".

Wimbledon started the game slowly and already had Ogbebor-Onaiwu to thank with a good save after just 40 seconds. The Gills then won a corner in the second minute and despite clearing the initial danger, poor positioning meant the second ball fell to the visitors and a recovering Reece Weekes was adjudged to have brought down the opposing player just inside the penalty area. The resulting penalty was emphatically taken and gave Gillingham the lead.

The Dons were all over the place in the first 20 minutes and despite the odd counter attack Gillingham literally created a chance or a half chance every time they went forward. If it was not for Ogbebor-Onaiwu's performance in goal the Dons could have found themselves four down in the opening 20 minutes.

With frustration setting in, things got worse for the Dons in the 22nd minute when a reckless challenge from Dean Perana rightly resulted in a straight red card.

The way the game started it looked like the Dons would be in for an incredibly long morning, but with a quick change of shape, despite the 10 men, they actually found their way back into the game. Tyler Burey, Weekes and Great Evans started to cause Gillingham problems and created half chances, however it remained 1-0 up until half time.

The Dons put in a good performance in the second-half, despite having just 10 men. Burey was a constant threat, the introduction of Jack Rudoni added creation to the Dons attack and Jamil Awoyejo provided excellent energy at right back.

Ogbebor-Onaiwu wasn't required as much in the second period, but the Dons could not turn an improved effort into goals.

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