A promising first-half display from AFC Wimbledon Under-18s counted for little on Saturday with opponents Southend striking four goals after the break.
Wimbledon marched into a 2-1 lead in the first-half, but hosts Southend equalised just before half-time and eventually won 6-2.
The game started brightly with the Dons creating good chances, thanks to the strike partnership of Zach Robinson and Donte Lodge-Francis. However, Southend found the breakthrough in the 14th minutes after Charlie Kellman got in front of Reuben Collins, before sliding underneath Albert White.
It did not take long for Wimbledon to respond. A good passing move ended with Finlay Macnab rounding the on-rushing Southend goalkeeper, before being brought down. Captain Jack Rudoni (pictured) stepped up to tuck home the resulting penalty.
With momentum established, the Dons soon found themselves 2-1 up. A clipped forward pass by Reuben Collins was held up by Lodge-Francis and he cleverly back-heeled into the path of Ayoub Assal, who finished clinically. With only five minutes to go before half-time, a ball down the channel looked to be causing Wimbledon no problems, but the referee waved away appeals for a foul on Jack Madelin. The ball was worked to Freddy Eastwood, son of the former Southend striker of the same name, who made no mistake.
Although a slow start to the second-half followed from Wimbledon, there was still a good share of possession for the visitors. However, Southend earned a third goal on the hour mark when hesitation amongst the back-line allowed Terrell Egbri the chance to intercept and slide into an empty net. The Dons did not recover from this blow and Southend grew in confidence with three further goals, thanks to another from Eastwood, and a late double from Jon Benton.
Our Under-18s assistant manager James Oliver-Pearce was far from pleased with the second-half display and you can watch his post-match interview below.
Highlights of the match are also available to watch by clicking on the link to our You Tube channel below.