Wally Downes was able to take plenty of positives from Wimbledon’s second pre-season friendly, against good Championship opposition.
The Dons restricted Brentford to a goalless first-half, but the visitors netted three times following the break – with two goals inside the final ten minutes to wrap up a 3-0 victory. However, it still proved to be a useful experience for Wimbledon’s manager with the workout ticking many boxes early in pre-season as they gained match fitness.
New goalkeeper Nathan Trott started the first-half and Wally gave starts to Kyron Stabana at right-back, with new signing Nesta Guinness-Walker on the left. New striker Adam Roscrow partnered Kwesi Appiah up front,
With just over a minute on the clock, Paul Kalambayi glanced a header over the Brentford crossbar. There was a cautionary word for Anthony Hartigan early on from the referee, after he caught Emiliano Marcondes. Wimbledon kept up their early pressure when Mitch Pinnock (pictured) crossed for Appiah, who shot low and wide of Luke Daniels in the Bees goal.
Guinness-Walker caught the eye inside the first quarter of the game, when the back line came under increasing pressure, as he looked lively attempting to move the ball out from the back. Trott, who hadn’t really been troubled, got down low to make a save in the 24th minute.
The first half continued to provide plenty of touches of the ball for both sets of outfield players, but very few attempts on either goal. It remained goalless at the break.
Brentford began the second-half with a fresh eleven, while The Dons waited until the hour mark to switch their entire line-up. Six minutes after the restart, Pinnock supplied another accurate cross which was headed wide by Appiah.
The deadlock was finally broken in the 56th minute, when Marcus Forss capitalised on a ball that Nightingale failed to deal with properly. Forss kept his composure to beat Trott at his near post.
Wimbledon switched to a more youthful eleven on the hour, with just Ayoub Assal remaining on the bench. Academy product Paul Osew showed pace down the left side. There was also an opportunity for former Chesterfield left-back Jerome Binnom-Williams to impress.
New Zealand international Nik Tzanev got down well to save a shot from Josh Dasilva. A minute later he pulled off another great one-handed save to deny Ollie Watkins.
The game got away from Wimbledon inside the last ten minutes though, as Christian Norgaard scored from close range following a corner in the 81st minute. Watkins added a third for Brentford with six minutes remaining.
AFC Wimbledon: Trott, Stabana, Guinness-Walker, Nightingale (c), Thomas, Kalambayi, Hartigan, Wagstaff, Pinnock, Roscrow and Appiah.
Substitutes: Tzanev, Collins, McDonald, Binnom-Williams, McLoughlin, Rudoni, Wood, Pigott, Macnab, Kaja and Osew.
Pic credit: Matt Redman (Pro Sports Images).