In-form Donte Lodge-Francis struck a superb double for the young Dons in a narrow defeat at home to Barnet on Saturday.
The Under-18s staged an impressive fightback from 2-0 down to draw level through Lodge-Francis (pictured left with Tyler Burey), but a late winner from Rio Connell secured a 3-2 win for the visitors.
Barnet had earned the lead in the 38th minute through Dimeji Adeniran, who headed home emphatically from a cross. The same player doubled the advantage before half-time with a fine finish after a good move.
A spirited response followed the half-time interval from the young Dons and the deficit was halved when Elliott Bolton picked out Lodge-Francis, who finished brilliantly into the top corner. There was no stopping Wimbledon now and the equaliser arrived when Jack Rudoni found Lodge-Francis, who calmly slotted home. Wimbledon looked in the mood to complete the fightback with a victory, but the hosts failed to clear a corner and Rio Connell drive home to leave the Dons still searching for a first win in the Football League Youth Alliance this season.
Click on the link below to watch highlights from the match.
Under-18s Assistant Manager James Oliver-Pearce felt disappointed with another defeat, but he believes that the squad have made positive steps since the start of this season.
"We are putting a lot more responsibility on the lads this year," said James. "It had a really good start, but now in the thick of the season it has had a few stumbling blocks. That's probably not a bad thing as they are young men and they are learning week in and week out. In terms of where we think we got to this weekend, we saw a lot more responsibility being taken by the lads with less talking from Robbo and me on the sidelines. Longer term, the rewards will be massive for them, not just as people, but as players too."
An interview with James and midfielder KJ Osu is available to watch by clicking on the link below.