Rod McDonald and Adam Roscrow both stepped up their recoveries after injury by featuring in a behind closed doors match against Brentford B today.
McDonald (pictured) came through 45 minutes unscathed and Roscrow played for half an hour in a 3-1 defeat at the Cherry Red Records Stadium. Joe Pigott had opened the scoring in the first-half, but a Brentford side containing three first-teamers were 2-1 up by half-time and a second-half goal from Ali Coote sealed it for the Bees.
With a blank weekend ahead, Glyn Hodges fielded a strong first-team line-up that included McDonald, who made his return from injury after almost three months out. Brentford’s side included three first-teamers with Luka Racic, Julian Jeanvier, and Dru Yearwood all starting the game. Wimbledon wasted no time in making an attacking impression and it was 1-0 in the 11th minute when Paul Kalambayi headed across goal for Joe Pigott to steer home from close-range. Pigott’s strike partner Marcus Forss, who was facing his parent club, then almost got in on the act when he produced a fine solo run to go through on goal, but his shot was saved by Brentford keeper Nathan Shepperd.
Brentford’s young talents showed plenty of confidence in possession and it was 1-1 in the 26th minute through a well-worked goal. A fine through ball by Cole Dasilva picked out Ali Coote in the box and he finished clinically. In a first-half that ebbed and flowed with both teams going on the attack, Wimbledon almost reclaimed the lead with an impressive move. Pigott picked out Forss in space down the right and his cross found Scott Wagstaff in space, but he shot over the crossbar. Pigott, who looked very sharp in the first-half, also headed just wide from close-range.
With 10 minutes left until half-time Brentford went in front for the first time. Arthur Read picked up the ball in midfield and delivered a fine ball through the middle for Jaden Brissett, who beat the offside trap and slotted home well past Joe McDonnell. The half-time whistle shrilled with Brentford still in front after an entertaining first-half in the Friday sunshine.
Wimbledon made six half-time changes, as Glyn Hodges decided to give more game-time to the rest of his squad. Shane McLoughlin, one of those substitutes, was straight into the thick of the action as he found space on the wing and cut the ball back for Nesta Guinness-Walker, but he shot just wide of the target. Guinness-Walker also found space for a shot from just outside the area, but his powerful drive flashed over the crossbar. With so many half-time changes, Wimbledon struggled to find the attacking fluency that was a feature of the first-half and Brentford marched into the lead in the 57th minute. Ali Coote found space in the area to get on the end of a cross and his header was an impressive one that left McDonnell with no chance.
The Dons made three more changes on the hour with Adam Roscrow among the players introduced. It was a significant moment for the striker who had missed the last two months due to injury. Jack Rudoni, who had also entered as a substitute, wasted no time getting involved after entering the fray and he shot just wide of the target with a fine strike from just outside the area. Roscrow made a positive return with his runs down the channels and he came close to a goal when he got on the end of a free-kick from Finlay Macnab, but his header was just over the crossbar.
Wimbledon put together a good move with 10 minutes to go that almost led to a goal back. Rudoni, who caught the eye with some good touches in midfield, strode forward and picked out Roscrow, who delivered a cross from the right flank that just evaded Macnab in the box. Roscrow also shot over the crossbar with a decent attempt from just outside the area. That was Wimbledon’s final chance as Brentford held on for victory. Despite the score-line, it had been a very useful exercise from a Wimbledon perspective as the squad kept themselves ticking over and first-teamers returning from injury got back in the groove.
AFC Wimbledon: Joe McDonnell, Luke O’Neill (Jack Madelin), Paul Kalambayi (Ryan Delaney), Rod McDonald (Terell Thomas), Nesta Guinness-Walker, Callum Reilly (Finlay Macnab), Max Sanders (Jack Rudoni), Mitch Pinnock (Shane McLoughlin), Scott Wagstaff (Kyron Stabana), Joe Pigott (Tommy Wood), Marcus Forss (Adam Roscrow).
Pic credit: Carlo Rossi