A young Wimbledon side ran an experienced Leyton Orient line-up close in our opening Central League Cup group match.
Tommy Wood (pictured) deservedly gave the Dons the lead early on and although Orient quickly cancelled that out and went on to win 2-1 at Ware FC, with goals from Joe Widdowson and Matt Harrold, Mark Robinson's side deserved to come away with at least a draw.
Our Lead Professional Phase Coach was able to call on goalkeeper Bert White (on loan to Walton and Hersham), plus Finlay Macnab and Zach Robinson (both at Leatherhead).
It was the young Dons who made a positive start to the game, as they pushed into the Leyton Orient half. Wimbledon deservedly went in front just after the quarter of the hour mark when Reuben Collins provided a great ball for ultimately Tommy Wood to side-foot home.
However, the lead didn't last long as first Joe Widdowson fired an equaliser past White four minutes later, as Wimbledon failed to clear. Shortly after that Harrold headed in to put Leyton Orient in front.
After a promising start, the visitors had moved away from the game plan and Leyton Orient then gained control for the remainder of the half.
The Dons fought back with Jack Currie in particular keen to make amends down the flank. Wimbledon did well to contain Leyton Orient from extending their slender advantage at the break.
Having worked hard for the opening fifteen minutes of the second half, the young Dons started to test the opposing back line again. Biler and Currie provided accurate supply for Wood and Macnab from the wings. Isaac Olanyian went close to an equaliser, with an effort from outside the box that almost found the top corner.
With twenty minutes to go, Mark Robinson introduced Kwaku Frimpong, who caught the eye, and Dylan Adjei Hersey for Jack Currie and Finlay Macnab. Wimbledon deserved an equaliser for their improved second half display. With four minutes of regular time left, Troy Chiabi replaced the tiring Zach Robinson.
Wimbledon pushed hard for the equaliser right to the end, as Wood twice got in good positions with twelve minutes remaining. Although it ended in defeat, there were still plenty of positives to be gained from playing against more senior opposition.
AFC Wimbledon: White Ogundere Collins Procter Biler Madelin Currie (Frimpong) Macnab (Adjei Hersey) Olanyian Wood Robinson (Chiabi).