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Young Dons move closer to meeting Mark’s expectations

Interview and highlights after a last-gasp victory for our Under-18s

7 November 2018

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AFC Wimbledon's young prospects bounced back from FA Youth Cup disappointment to secure a last-gasp win against Barnet and manager Mark Robinson praised the response shown by the players.

A 2-1 win was secured in the third minute of injury-time when the impressive Elliott Bolton set Huseyin Biler free down the right and his superb cross was met emphatically by the head of Bobby Mills (pictured). The Dons had earlier marched into the lead in the 20th minute after a great ball from Ayoub Assal picked out Welsh Under-17 international Jack Madelin, who made no mistake.

The Dons deserved to be more than 1-0 up at half-time, but David Fisher had his penalty saved just before the break. Though Wimbledon continued to be the better side after the break, the cushion of a second goal failed to arrive and Okem Chaime equalised with five minutes to go. However, Mills kept his cool to earn victory for Wimbledon.

Click on the link below to watch Mark Robinson's full post-match interview with a summary of it produced below.

"We started on the front foot, we looked a real threat, and we could have been two or three up early on," said Mark. "Ayoub was very impressive, especially in the first half an hour, so we played really quickly and moved the ball really quickly. I was really impressed, but the longer it stayed 1-0, the more the lads got nervous, and they got the equaliser, but there was a great reaction to get the winner in the last minute. We had been working on getting players into the penalty area and Bobby, who was excellent all game, has arrived on the far post and got the winner.

"You talk about things like discipline, shape off the ball, and all this kind of stuff, and you get the feeling they think they are dirty words, but you need these things. We want our players to be expressive, we want them to be exciting, but you have to have that foundation and a lot of it stems from communication. We did that on Saturday, we communicated well through the units. You need that foundation and when you get that you can be exciting and look a threat. That was really pleasing because what cost us against Gillingham was a lack of communication.

"As an academy, we always work on the culture and what it means to play for Wimbledon. I don't think we've lost that, but maybe a little because we've been doing a lot of work on other stuff. I said to them before the game that they don't play for the biggest club in the country, we all know that, but they play for the biggest story in football. They wake up in the morning and they need to remember that. Not just these boys, but all the academy boys. They should be proud of that and show that hunger to learn and perform in the way that we expect. There are things that come with that as playing for a club like this there are certain things that we expect. That's the sort of thing that we will be concentrating on a lot more now and in the future."

View the highlights from the 2-1 by clicking on the link below.


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