An AFC Wimbledon XI just came up short in pursuit of victory against a much more experienced Corinthian Casuals side last night.
After marching into a 2-0 lead through goals from Tommy Wood and David Fisher (pictured), The Dons had to settle for a 2-2 draw against the Ryman Premier League club’s first-team.
The majority of Wimbledon’s 11 at King George’s Arena were Under-18s, but striker Wood added relative experience with first year professionals Paul Osew and Reuben Collins also involved.
The Dons started very brightly and it was just the final ball that was lacking early on. However, Fisher and Wood had already come close to making the breakthrough, before the influential Ayoub Assal released the lively Dylan Adjei-Hersey, who was bundled over in the penalty area. Following some debate between Assal and Wood, the latter slotted home the penalty comfortably. Though not in full flow, Wimbledon continued to look a threat, but Bert White was forced to make two good saves at the other end.
The young Dons were certainly dealing with the physical challenge well enough with Archie Procter and Jack Madelin looking very comfortable at the back. The advantage was doubled in the 43rd minute when Hersey combined pace and trickery down the flank, before crossing well for Fisher, who got across his marker brilliantly and finished emphatically from six yards. However, Wimbledon failed to see out the two-goal advantage until half-time, allowing Casuals to halve the deficit.
With the starting 11 substituted off at half-time and finishing their work-out in the local park, the Dons fielded a team entirely made up of 16 and 17 year old players. Young replacement keeper Matt Cox pulled off an outstanding flying save as the home pressure increased, but Wimbledon had moments of threat, particularly through the exciting Julian Sarmiento-Ramirez and Isaac Olaynian, who shot inches over from 30 yards. However, Casuals equalised in the 72nd minute when Wimbledon failed to deal with a long ball on the counter-attack to allow Casuals to restore parity.
Following the game, coach Rob Tuvey said: “We were full of endeavour in both halves and caused them problems, particularly in the first-half. However, the performance was too disjointed wityh the wrong movements and basic technical errors. For an early pre-season game against senior opposition, there were also a positives though, particularly with the way the lads approached the physical challenge.”
AFC Wimbledon will fulfil two fixtures on Saturday with teams consisting of Under-18 and Under-23 players. One match will be at Staines Town and the other will be at Hanwell Town (both 3.00 pm kick offs).