Finlay Macnab struck a late winner to keep AFC Wimbledon Under-18s in the title hunt with one match remaining.
A hard-fought 2-1 victory at Stevenage was achieved on Saturday and it meant that The Dons still have a chance to win the Merit League when the season ends at the Cherry Red Records Stadium on Sunday against AFC Bournemouth (7.30 pm kick-off).
The young Dons made a swift start in the 10th minute when Jack Madelin produced an excellent header to provide the perfect finish to a brilliant corner delivery by Huseyin Biler. However, Wimbledon failed to build on the early opener with Stevenage taking a foothold on possession. An equaliser was therefore not a surprise when it came in the 35th minute through Luis Fernandez, who punished slack defending from a corner to head home.
Playing into the wind in the second-half, Wimbledon did enjoy more of the ball, but no real clear-cut chances followed. Though David Fisher and Ayoub Assal came close to finding a winner, poor decision-making in the final third let Wimbledon down. However, a corner in the 89th minute did produce that elusive winner. Reece Weekes delivered a great cross that was deflected into the path of Macnab, who smashed home from six yards.
Following the match, manager Mark Robinson said: "in terms of development there were very few positives to take from the game. I fully understand that the lads were playing under pressure, knowing it was a game they needed to win, but they quite simply need to deal with that pressure better. We turned over possession far too quickly because we stayed in one channel far too long, our technical detail was not good enough, and our movement was straight lined and predictable.
“They have undergone a detailed programme this season that has continually taken them out of their comfort zone and they have developed really well, which has shown on and off the pitch. Some have already reaped the rewards by earning professional contracts, but they are too quick to revert to type when not challenged in the same way. For those quality habits to become intrinsic, it needs to be a lifestyle and only they can make that happen.”
Click on the link below to watch the highlights, but please note that that these are not of the usual quality due to high winds on Saturday.