A superb goal from Ethan Nelson-Roberts was not enough to prevent defeat for AFC Wimbledon Under-18s on Saturday.
In a very good first-half display from Wimbledon, Man of the Match Nelson-Roberts (pictured) opened the scoring with a belter from 20 yards, but a 2-1 defeat was the final outcome.
To view highlights from the game, click on the link below.
Starting the game well, Reece Weekes and Tyler Burey provided plenty of threat out wide and Wimbledon continually worked the ball into dangerous areas, without adding the finishing touch. The excellent Nelson-Roberts volleyed just over after 20 minutes, but it was a sign of things to come and the same player fired home emphatically shortly afterwards. Wimbledon were in full flow after notching the opener with Roberts and Osssama Ashley controlling midfield. Tino Carpene, Great Nii-Okai Evans and Donte Lodge Francis caused problems up front and a back three of Osaze Urgohide, Rueben Collins and Dean Perana controlled matters defensively.
It could have been 2-0 just after the half hour when the lively Weekes hit a post from 22 yards and Urgohide just headed wide with the follow-up. It ended 1-0 at half time and the only frustrating aspect for Wimbledon was that a bigger advantage had not been accumulated. The second-half started a little more even but Wimbledon still carried the biggest goal threat with Carpene, Evans and Burey missing chances. Wimbledon goalkeeper Tom Miles did have to make another outstanding save on 60 minutes, as Milton Keynes carried more of a threat.
As the half wore on, Wimbledon started to get stretched more as a back three and on 78 minutes a long ball caught the Dons out of shape and a cross was met emphatically by Charlie Pattison, who finished brilliantly from 18 yards. The game now become a bit of a battle and after conceding possession from a throw-in, the Dons were caught by a through ball and Urgohide was adjudged to have fouled in the area. Reece Martin slotted home the penalty for Milton Keynes.
Speaking afterwards, Academy Head of Football Mark Robinson, said: "Once again, in the first half we were excellent. There are some things we need to work on in the final third though because when you are that dominant and constantly getting into good areas, you need to be creating clearer cut chances and making sure you are in a better position to win the game. However, I must applaud the boys for the progressive football they played in that half.
"The second-half was much more even and in the last 20 minutes they started to stretch us. I could have changed formation to make it more defensive, but for development purposes it is more important for the boys to problem solve. We played an attacking formation, but there were things in the second-half the boys could have done better on the ball to maintain our momentum. The boys are gutted about the defeat, but this week we can continue with their development programme, as well as discuss and solve what we could have done to give ourselves every opportunity of a positive outcome. That does not mean sticking 10 men behind the ball. None of the teams or players in our league are better than us, so we need to continue to work to dominate the ball in everything we do, and in recent weeks, the signs have been extremely positive."
To watch an interview with Academy Head of Coaching Michael Hamilton, click on the link below.