Mark Robinson was delighted with the experience provided by a pre-season trip to Spain for our Under-18s.
The tour to Spain, which was organised in conjunction with League Football Education, was rounded off with a 1-0 defeat for our young Dons against Catilleja CF Under-19s. The picture above shows our youngsters presenting Spanish hosts Pedro and Jose with a signed Dons shirt.
Following the trip, Mark Robinson said: “It has been thoroughly successful. The players have been taken way out their comfort zones at times, but also been given the freedom to bond and show their personalities. We are determined to produce self-managing athletes and the players have shown signs of excellent professionalism, on and off the pitch, without constant instruction from their coaches. It would have been great to have won all three games and the players definitely were dominant enough for that to happen, but I think the learning they will take from being the team in the ascendency and not always getting the required result will be great learning for them.
“I have told them constantly that winning football matches at Under-18 level is tough and it will only get tougher as they progress, so understanding and carrying out the small details are absolutely key to them having success, both individually and collectively. On behalf of the academy we would like to thank the EFL for putting on an absolutely fantastic football and education tour for the players and staff".
Taking on a side with more experience, the young Dons started well against Castilleja CF, but the hosts defended impressively. The Dons kept pouring forward with Dylan Adjei-Hersey and Ayoub Assal showing great flair and energy. On 20 minutes, ompletely against the run of play, the hosts won a free-kick 25 yards out and a wicked deflection wrong footed Matt Cox in the Wimbledon goal.
The Dons continued with excellent energy in the second half and chances were created for Zach Robinson, and Troy Chiabi, before a wonderful move ended with Assal’s shot brilliantly tipped around the post. David Fisher had a header that beat the keeper and looked to have clearly crossed the line, but the assistant referee, who was 15 yards behind play, adjudged that it was no goal. A brilliant run by Kwako Frimpong ended with his cross eluding Chiabi, Fisher and Assal, before Julian Sarmiento-Ramirez had his shot with five minutes to go flash wide.
The young Dons started the three-match tour with a draw against Real Betis Under-18s, before an 8-1 win against Xerez Under-19s.