By Chris Slavin
AFC Wimbledon's development squad left it late to earn a share of the spoils against Portsmouth this afternoon with Alfie Egan netting an equaliser two minutes from time.
Several Wimbledon first-teamers completed 90 minutes with Dean Parrett coming through 65 minutes after being out since October and Joe Pigott also played for the same amount of time.
Alan Reeves concluded that the 1-1 draw in the Central League Cup was a fair outcome after Portsmouth had the better of the first-half at Gosport Borough FC's Privett Park.
"The game was mainly to get fitness into the first-team lads and it was job done in that respect," said Alan. "It was not the best pitch, it was bobbly, and in the first-half we played too much football in the middle of the park. We lost the ball too often, but in the second-half we played more direct. They had young, enthusiastic lads who put themselves about and competed well. We did not compete well in the first-half, but in the second-half we were better, and a draw was a fair result."
Portsmouth, who added first-team experience to their line-up with Conor Chaplin and Adam May involved, looked set for victory when Theo Widdington scored from an 81st minute free-kick. However, lovely wing play by Egli Kaja down the right opened up a crossing opportunity and his delivery found Egan (pictured), who finished clinically.
Alan Reeves was pleased with his side's defending and added that it provided valuable experience for Paul Kalambayi to play alongside Paul Robinson at the heart of defence.
"Our two centre-backs both played well, but it was probably a defender's game with the pitch not the best," said Alan. "It was a case of our defenders winning their headers and tackles. Paul Kalambayi has had a couple of games alongside Robbo now and it can only help him. I told Paul afterwards that you are always still learning as a defender, I picked Robbo out and he said the same. Playing at the back with Robbo can only help Paul Kalambayi in his career."
AFC Wimbledon: Nik Tzanev, Toby Sibbick, Paul Robinson, Paul Kalambayi, Callum Kennedy, Anthony Hartigan, Alfie Egan, Dean Parrett (Levi Shango), Egli Kaja, Joe Pigott (Richard Pingling), Harry Forrester.