AFC Wimbledon's young talents hit the goal trail in style tonight at the Cherry Red Records Stadium.
Cracking strikes from Ayoub Assal and David Fisher helped the young Dons to a 5-0 FA Youth Cup win against Leyton Orient with Zach Robinson striking a double and Jack Madelin also on target. With just a point separating the two sides in the league, the margin of victory showed that Wimbledon's players had risen to the challenge on the big stage. They were clapped off by an appreciative crowd with the home support having enjoying a fine exhibition of football.
In his first experience as a manager in the FA Youth Cup, Rob Tuvey was able to include Jack Madelin, who had made his league debut for Wimbledon just days before signing a pro deal. At the other end, Zach Robinson, who is on loan at Basingstoke, led the line. Archie Procter, one of a crop of Under-18s that represented the first-team in Germany during the summer, captained the side.
AFC Wimbledon dominated possession in the early stages, but Orient provided stubborn resistance, maintaining a good defensive shape and soaking up the pressure well. The first chance for Wimbledon came about after lovely play by Ayoub Assal. The attacking midfielder, who has just returned from a loan spell at Met Police, produced a fine run and pass to set-up Dylan Adjei-Hersey, but his fierce shot flashed just wide. There was not too long to wait for Wimbledon to make the breakthrough though – and it was a goal that oozed quality in its execution. Huseyin Biler, who had shown his promise for the first-team in the summer when he set-up a goal at Kickers Offenbach, claimed another fine assist. Picking up the ball on the right side, he looked up and played a delightful pass through to Assal, who produced a finish to match the approach play by striking home emphatically.
Following the opening goal, Wimbledon continued to press and David Fisher, who had been lively throughout, put over a lovely cross from the right that was begging to be finished off, but no one was able to get on the end of it. Assal continued to be a threat and it appeared that he had won his side a penalty after getting on the end of a lay-off by Zach Robinson. However, the referee deemed that Assal had dived and he was booked by the referee. In a first-half dominated by Wimbledon, Orient finally had a shot on goal through a long-range effort by Bradley McCeenaghan, but Dons keeper Matthew Cox saved comfortably.
It had been a first-half of few chances, but Wimbledon fully deserved the lead at half-time, thanks to that flash of real quality from Assal. Only one point separated these two sides in the league, but The Dons had been well in charge during the first-half. Procter also headed just over the crossbar before half-time, as Wimbledon took a 1-0 lead into the break.
The young Dons continued to put the pressure on Orient after half-time and a second goal deservedly arrived in the 57th minute. Adjei-Hersey, who had scored the winning penalty in our London Senior Cup tie at Met Police, crossed superbly for Robinson and he made no mistake from close-range. Robinson may have scored it, but all the credit was given to Adjei-Hersey for his fine delivery with his team-mates all quick to salute his contribution. There wasn’t long to wait for Robinson to celebrate another when he again finished off clinically from close-range after Orient had failed to deal with a corner.
At 3-0 up, Wimbledon really started to turn on the style and a fourth goal followed 11 minutes from time. David Fisher, who had produced an impressive display on the night, struck a superb 25-yard effort to make it four. At the other end, Matthew Cox stayed alert to produce a superb reflex save. However, that was a rare Orient attack and Wimbledon finshed with a flourish. Madelin had a shot blocked, before Elliott Bolton was denied by the keeper. There was no stopping Wimbledon from striking a fifth though and it was Madelin who claimed it in injury-time with a fine headed goal after getting on the end of a corner. It had been a very good team performance from Wimbledon and judging on this display, another long run in the FA Youth Cup could be a possibility.
AFC Wimbledon: Matthew Cox, Huseyin Biler, Jack Madelin, Archie Procter, Jack Currie (Isaac Ogundere), Elliott Bolton, KJ Osu (Isaac Olanyian), Dylan Adjei-Hersey (Julian Sarmiento-Ramirez) , Ayoub Assal, David Fisher, Zachary Robinson.
Pic credit: Stuart Tree