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Young Dons edge out Southend to get off the mark

Tino Carpene with the decisive goal

11 September 2017

AFC Wimbledon Under-18s produced a much-improved performance to secure a first victory of the season on Saturday.

An own goal was followed up by strikes from Reuben Collins and Tino Carpene to earn a 3-2 win at Southend United.

The Dons started on the front foot and they were rewarded when a cross from Donte Lodge Francis was turned in by a Southend player. Wimbledon continued to look organised and restricted the shrimpers to very little and at the other end, Great Evans, Tino Carpene and Jack Rudoni all had half chances. A strong first-half performance paid off in the 42nd minute when the excellent Collins forced home a free-kick from Rudoni at the far post. The Dons continued to look the more threatening after the break. However, Southend halved the deficit after a quick break, the hosts taking full advantage with Wimbledon failing to regain their shape.

At 2-1, Wimbledon refused to panic, but goalkeeper Edward Ogbebor-Onaiwu pulled off a good save in the 66th minute. A goal from Carpene gave Wimbledon breathing space, the forward turning home smartly from eight yards after good work by Bobby Mills. Though Southend reduced the arrears, it came in injury-time and too late to affect matters.

Manager Mark Robinson said: "The boys were disappointed with the two goals they conceded, which is a good thing because they were both avoidable. However, we had a structure, discipline, and a desire to our performance from every single player on the pitch. I had not seen that since we played Athletico Madrid in Spain. We played some pretty good football in little spells, but nowhere near what we will be capable of if the boys can maintain the off the ball discipline and desire they showed today.

"James Oliver-Pearce and me are spending far too much time going over old ground in training due to lack of focus. If that improves considerably, we can start to do more work the attacking and possession side of the game that will allow us to dominate games off the ball and on the ball."

Man of the Match for Wimbledon was awarded to Great Nii Okai Evans.

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