Michael Folivi continued his pre-season hot streak with a first-half double to help AFC Wimbledon to victory at Met Police tonight.
Folivi's double made it four from him since his Dons return, as Wimbledon secured a 3-1 win at Imber Court against a side currently in the BetVictor Southern Premier Division.
It was a professional display from The Dons and Nesta Guinness-Walker was given a warm ovation on his return to Met Police after making way for Paul Osew in the 72nd minute.
Wally Downes selected a strong starting 11 for this first match back on these shores after Wimbledon’s return from La Manga. Nesta Guinness-Walker started against his old club, the left-back making a quick return after signing for Wimbledon in May. Will Nightingale was handed a central midfield role for this match as part of a 3-5-2 with Paul Kalambayi, Terell Thomas, and Rod McDonald forming the back three.
Glyn Hodges had stated in the build-up to this game that Metropolitan Police were a team that pride themselves on good football and that’s certainly the way it turned out from the outset. A quick switch of passes in Wimbledon’s defensive third ended with a chance for Sean Mcormack, but his well struck shot produced a fine save from Nathan Trott. It was an impressive opening spell from Met Police and Trott had to be alert to keep out another shot from Mcormack, who had made a bright start.
Wimbledon’s first meaningful attack resulted in the opening goal in the 19th minute. Luke O’Neill, who thrived in the right wing-back role, beat his marker and delivered a cross that was diverted into his own net by Lucas Ness. Though Jack Mazzone forced Trott into another save shortly afterwards, Wimbledon doubled the advantage in the 25th minute. A smart through ball from Thomas picked out Michael Folivi and he showed good composure to beat Luke Williams from close-range. There wasn’t long to wait for number three with Met Police paying the price for a defensive lapse. Receiving a pass just inside his own area, Ness was dispossessed by Folivi, who made no mistake to roll the ball into an empty net with Williams caught out of position.
The Dons ended the first-half strongly and there was no let-up in search of a fourth goal. O’Neill had a powerful drive blocked, before he tried his luck with a free-kick that flashed wide. However, Met Police had managed to keep it at a 3-0 deficit when the half-time whistle shrilled.
The hosts started the second-half by reducing the lead to just two after the referee adjudged that O’Neill had fouled in the area. It appeared harsh, but Met Police made the most of their opportunity through Jack Mazzone, who confidently beat Nathan Trott from 12 yards. That failed to change the pattern of the game as Wimbledon continued to spray the ball around effectively. A fine move almost resulted in number four with Folivi, who was a bright spark throughout with his pace and movement, splitting defence with a lovely through ball that found Kwesi Appiah, but his well-struck shot was saved by Williams.
Far from daunted by the four-division gap, the hosts kept on plugging away and former Wimbledon youth midfielder Seanan McKillop, who is on trial at Met Police, struck a fine effort on target that Trott did well to hold. A raft of Dons substitutions from the hour mark onwards disrupted the flow of the game. However, there was almost another goal for Wimbledon. Substitute Osew, who produced an impressive cameo, powered down the left and crossed well for our trialist who had entered as a substitute, but he headed over the crossbar.
Substitute Archie Procter almost scored with a fine header, but it was well saved by Williams. There was to be no fourth for Wimbledon on the night, but more goals and smart attacking play was certainly a step in the right direction with just 11 days until 2019/20 gets underway.
AFC Wimbledon: Nathan Trott, Luke O’Neill (Jack Madelin), Rod McDonald, Will Nightingale (Archie Procter), Terell Thomas, Kwesi Appiah, Mitch Pinnock (Ayoub Assal), Michael Folivi (trialist), Nesta Guinness-Walker (Paul Osew), trialist (Finlay Macnab), Paul Kalambayi.
Pic credit: Stephen Wright, Pro Sports Images.