Zach Robinson and Dylan Adjei Hersey led the goal charge for our Under-18s in Spain yesterday against Xerez FC’s youngsters.
The pair struck two each for Wimbledon in a match that ended with an 8-1 win for the young Dons. There was also a significant late call-up for Wimbledon as 13-year-old Leo Castledine, son of former Dons midfielder Stewart, became our youngest academy player to feature for the Under-18s. Leo replaced captain Archie Procter, who was injured playing for our first-team against Crystal Palace.
Wimbledon started on the front foot against their Spanish hosts, creating early chances for Robinson, David Fisher, Julian Sarmiento-Ramirez, Adjei-Hersey and Luke Jenkins. However, the first goal did not arrive until the 27th minute when a well-worked move, including excellent skill from Sarmiento-Ramirez, created a chance for Robinson and he made no mistake. Three minutes later, te advantage was doubled through the influential Adjei-Hersey. The Dons continued to pour forward and Samirez added a deserved third on 42 minutes to cap an impressive first-half performance from the team.
The Dons marched into a 4-0 lead in the second-half through Robinson, who smashed home from 12 yards for his third goal in two games after winning the penalty himself. Adjei-Hersey added his second in the 66th minute and there was no let-up from Wimbledon after hitting five. David Fisher added a sixth, before the excellent Ayoub Assal increased the advantage. However, the best was still to come as an excellent team move ended with Ramirez putting over a fine cross that was finished off superbly by Huseyin Biler.
Under-18s manager Rob Tuvey said: "Robbo spoke to the players before the game about intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. The previous game against illustrious opponents Real Betis had provided plenty of extrinsic motivation, but it's games like this that show whether the boys have the character to perform week in week and week out. I was really pleased with the performance, along with the approach and application from the boys throughout the game.
“It would be very easy to look at the score-line and question the quality of the opposition, but we did not let them get any momentum from the first minute and we played some excellent creative football. The players were gutted not to keep a clean sheet, which was also really pleasing.”
On Leo Castledine’s appearance for the Under-18s, coach Mark Robinson said: “It was also a fantastic morning for young Leo. He was flown out at late notice to replace Archie, who got injured against Crystal Palace playing for the first-team. At just 13 years of age, Leo is the youngest ever player to make an appearance for our Under-18s. He acquitted himself excellently, both off and on the pitch, and looked very comfortable in his first 30 minutes playing for the Under-18s.”
The final game of the Spanish tour for our Under-18s is on Thursday against Castilleja.