AFC Wimbledon Under-18s warmed up for the resumption of the league campaign by earning an impressive friendly victory against Southampton.
The young Dons earned a 3-0 victory at the training ground on Friday, thanks to goals from Ayoub Assal, Zach Robinson (pictured right above), and KJ Osu, against a club with category one academy status.
A link to the highlights is published at the bottom of this page with a report and quotes from manager Mark Robinson below.
On a rain-sodden pitch, Wimbledon started at an excellent pace and in the ninth minute it was 1-0 through Assal, who finished clinically into the roof of the net after a lovely cross from Huseyin Bilal. With a strong wind behind them, Wimbledon were relentless, pressing Southampton and pouring forward at every opportunity. Twice the advantage could have been doubled. First, Osu missed with a header from close-range, before Assal marched through on goal and tried an exquisite finish that the keeper just about saved.
Bert White did make a good save in the 28th minute, but the Dons defence maintained an excellent shape to repel Southampton attacks with Archie Proctor and Jack Madelin both impressing at the back. Four minutes before the break, it was 2-0 when David Fisher sent over a cross that Robinson headed home emphatically. It had been an exciting half from The Dons with Reece Weekes, Paul Osew, and Bilal constantly working the flanks well.
Though Southampton had the wind behind them in the second-half, Wimbledon played the conditions effectively, and that meant the remainder of the game was mostly played in the opposition half. It was 3-0 six minutes after the break when Osu finished off well after good play by Zach Robinson.
Following the match, Mark Robinson said: “The game was played in very difficult decisions and our approach to the game was excellent. I expected us to be on the front foot in the first half with the strong wind behind us, but we showed some excellent movement and detail to open them up on lots of occasions.
“I thought that the second half against the wind would be very tough, but the lads took on board the information brilliantly at half-time and played the conditions really well and, if anything, we were even more dominant. The manager had watched parts of the game and he came in and told the lads how pleased he was with it. Deji and Aaron Ramsdale added to that with some positive words. Our players were absolutely chuffed with that. There is nothing better than seeing players in a good, confident place. They just need to remember the process that got them there and maintain that relentlessness to learning and improving.”
Watch the highlights by clicking on the link below.