Seventeen-year-old Troy Chiabi struck a hat-trick in just 28 first-half minutes as Wimbledon started the pre-season programme with a resounding win at Corinthian Casuals.
All the goals in the 5-0 victory came in the first-half with Troy netting a treble and Nesta Guinness-Walker and Terell Thomas also on target. New signings Cheye Alexander and Alex Woodyard had their first run-outs in Wimbledon colours and the picture above shows the latter in possession during the second-half (photo taken by Trevor Williams).
It was an impressive way to blow away the cobwebs after 154 days without a match since that League One draw at home to Bolton Wanderers in March. The game kicked off at 12 noon with forecasters predicting the temperature to soar during the afternoon.
For this behind-closed-doors match, Glyn Hodges selected a mixture of first-team regulars and Under-18s to get pre-season underway at Isthmian Premier Division side Corinthian Casuals. The Dons wasted little time in putting the hosts under pressure and it was 1-0 in just the third minute. Joe Pigott showed good movement to find space down the right, before he picked out 17-year-old striker Troy Chiabi, who slotted home from close-range. Pigott came close to getting on the scoresheet himself when he got on the end of a lovely cross by Luke O’Neill, but his header was just wide. O’Neill was highly impressive in the first-half with his distribution and he combined well down the right with Shane McLoughlin.
The Dons started to find plenty of space in behind after impressive passing movements through midfield with Callum Reilly seeing plenty of the ball. Wimbledon’s advantage was doubled in the 17th minute when O’Neill sent over a fine cross from the right that picked out Chiabi and he produced a lovely low finish into the bottom corner. Pigott, who was our top scorer last season, was eager to get in on the act and he struck a superb 30-yard effort that flashed just wide of the far post. There was no stopping Nesta Guinness-Walker shortly afterwards through as he struck a lovely angled finish to make it 3-0 in the 27th minute.
Though he didn’t get his name on the scoresheet during his first-half, Pigott looked sharp in attack and he showed good awareness to set-up Chiabi, who bagged his hat-trick in style by rounding the keeper, before finishing well from an acute angle, in the 31st minute. There was even a chance for Chiabi to net his fourth after fine wing play by Ayoub Assal, but this time his shot was well saved by the keeper.
There was still time in the first-half for Wimbledon to make it five when Shane McLoughlin sent over a lovely cross from the right and it was met by Terell Thomas, who found the back of the net with a powerful header. It had been an emphatic first-half from the Dons with good attacking play during a dominant 45 minutes.
It was a completely different Dons 11 for the second-half with several Under-18s getting an opportunity to impress our first-team management. New signings Cheye Alexander and Alex Woodyard entered the fray. The pair combined well with Woodyard sending over a cross to the far post that Cheye Alexander headed into the back of the net, but the flag was up for offside. Though Wimbledon continued to dominate possession with really good passing moves, the cutting edge was lacking.
Adam Roscrow, who entered the fray as one of the second-half 11, had a good shot blocked after a fine move with the opportunity created by tricky forward play from young talent Julian Sarmiento-Ramirez. Roscrow had a better chance to open his account with six minutes left. Lovely play by Julian Sarmiento-Ramirez set-up David Fisher, but he was scythed down by the keeper and the referee pointed to the penalty spot. Adam Roscrow stepped up, but his well struck penalty was too close to the keeper, who pulled off a fine save.
The Dons were unable to add to the five goals scored on the day, but it had certainly been an encouraging work-out with key first-team regulars getting back into the groove and young talents getting a taste of senior action. Though hosts Casuals were unable to really test Zaki Oualah or Matthew Cox, they acquitted themselves well in the second-half. We are grateful to them for being really good hosts as our pre-season programme belatedly got underway on the second weekend in August.
AFC Wimbledon (first-half): Zaki Oualah, Luke O’Neill, Terell Thomas, Anthony Hartigan, Nesta Guinness-Walker, Shane McLoughlin, Issac Ogundere, Ayoub Assal, Callum Reilly, Troy Chiabi, Joe Pigott.
Second-half: Matthew Cox, Alex Woodyard, Will Nightingale, Cheye Alexander, Paul Kalambayi, Luke Jenkins, Dylan Adjei-Hersey (Julian Sarmiento-Ramirez), Jack Rudoni (Dylan Adjei-Hersey), Elliott Bolton, Adam Roscrow, David Fisher.