Glyn Hodges’ young squad put up an improved second half performance, but slipped to their first defeat of pre-season against strong opposition.
Championship side Queens Park Rangers stormed into a two-goal lead by the break, through Ilias Chair and new signing Lyndon Dykes. Even though Wimbledon conceded a third, via an unfortunate Paul Osew own goal early in the second half, they did offer better resistance as they lost 3-0.
There was a minute’s silence before the game, following the recent passing of Gordon Macey. Gordon was a historian at QPR, an AFC Wimbledon season ticket holder and a close friend of our former Manager Terry Brown.
The hosts named new signings George Thomas and Dykes in their starting line-up. It had been a month since Mark Warburton’s squad had wrapped up their previous campaign with a draw at promoted West Bromwich Albion.
Four of Glyn’s new signings started the game, with Connal Trueman in goal, Cheye Alexander in defence and Alex Woodyard and Jaakko Oksanen figuring in midfield. There was also room for one of three trialists, but still a strong starting line-up with the aim to give those involved 75 minutes.
It was the hosts who took the lead with the first real effort on goal of the game. Ilias Chair beat off the challenge of Callum Reilly and his shot from outside the area beat Connal Trueman. Just after the midway point of the half, Bright Osayi-Samuel had a real opportunity to double the lead, but the move ended tamely in front of Trueman.
Wimbledon fought their way out of their half but were met by solid defending from QPR at the back. The Dons did have the ball in the net in the 32nd minute (pictured), following a ball in by Woodyard which was headed down by Pigott, but Roscrow’s goal was ruled out for offside.
QPR doubled their lead just before the break. Thomas and Dykes combined, and it was Dykes who benefitted as he finished from close range, capitalising on a Roscrow mistake inside the box. It had been a tough first half work out for Wimbledon’s young back line.
Glyn Hodges took the opportunity to cast an eye over another trialist at the back at the start of the second half, but Wimbledon were soon on the back foot again. Rangers broke quickly and with pace and an unfortunate final touch by Osew beat Trueman, as QPR registered a third goal.
The West Londoners were dominant and asserted themselves further, but there was better resistance from The Dons as they kept more of a solid, defensive line themselves.
With fifteen minutes to go the management team made a further ten changes. Tzanev, Kalambayi, Nightingale, Biler, McLoughlin, Guinness-Walker, Assal, Chislett, Hartigan and a third trialist all came on for the last quarter of an hour.
The much-changed line-up managed to see out the remainder of the game without conceding. It had been an afternoon when Glyn had learned much about his players following their toughest work out so far.
AFC Wimbledon: Trueman (Tzanev), O’Neill (Biler), Woodyard (McLoughlin), Thomas (Kalambayi), Alexander (Nightingale), Roscrow (Trialist), Trialist (Trialist), Oksanen (Chislett), Reilly (Hartigan), Osew (Guinness-Walker), Pigott (Assal).
Pic credit: Trevor Williams.