AFC Wimbledon Under-18s hit top form on Saturday with a performance that manager Mark Robinson described as ‘excellent’.
League leaders Northampton were brushed aside 4-0 in the blustery conditions at our training ground, Wimbledon producing fine football in the circumstances.
Playing into a strong wind in the first-half and on a difficult surface, Wimbledon started well with Ayoub Assal, David Fisher, and Bobby Mills all going close. At the other end, the Wimbledon defence of Archie Proctor (pictured right above with Mark Robinson) and Reuben Collins marshalled the back-line brilliantly. Just before the half hour, Wimbledon opened the scoring after clever play by Reece Weekes set-up Fisher, who was brought down in the box. Assal stepped up and made no mistake with a precise penalty. Ten minutes later, the advantage was doubled when Assal, who was unplayable on the day, provided a great cross that was headed home emphatically by Mills.
There was no let-up from Wimbledon and it was three in the 41st minute when Mills crossed brilliantly for Fisher and he gave it the finish it deserved with a superb header. The 3-0 half-time score-line was fully deserved after a fine demonstration of football in the conditions.
The second-half started with Northampton very much on the front foot for the first 10 minutes, but the Dons defence held firm and gradually they started to get hold of the ball again with Elliot Bolton and KJ Osu once again dominating midfield. Full-backs Huseyin Biler and Paul Osew also joined the attack at every opportunity. The fourth goal came in the 65th minute when more good work from Mills found Assal, who finished clinically. Weekes, Assal and Mills all had further opportunities for the Dons and Fisher had an excellent header ruled out for offside, but four proved to be more than enough in a thoroughly professional performance.
Mark Robinson said: “We asked the lads to come up with a game plan to deal with the conditions and after a chat we thought they were spot on. We were keen to see if they could put it into practice. I have to say to a man they were excellent. They played with real maturity, intelligence, and on the whole their decision-making was very good. I do not like to pick out individuals normally, but I thought our keeper Bert White was outstanding. He had very little to do, if anything at all in terms of making saves, but his distribution and decisions about when to play short and when to go long, was first class. He kept a perfect line and his role in our performance due to the extreme conditions was pivotal.
“The lads obviously love winning, but we are very much concentrated on the way they win because we have to develop players who can look after the ball and make excellent decisions on the ball. Off the ball, they have to be organised, incredibly hard working, and fiercely competitive. They showed that in this game, but it now needs to be maintained."
Highlights from this game can be viewed by clicking on the link below. Please note that the quality of the footage is hindered by the blustery weather conditions on Saturday.