Under-18s manager Rob Tuvey said that his side produced their best performance of the season with an impressive victory against Southend United on Saturday.
Despite our young Dons having won the EFL Youth Alliance Cup recently (the victorious squad are pictured above), Rob concluded that it was a better display against a Southend side that were second in the league table before Saturday’s game.
“I thought we played really well,” said Rob. “I think it was our best performance of the season so far. We dominated possession, probably the best we have all season. I thought our ball use was really good and we are really starting to show that we can manage games. From the 60th minute onwards I thought we controlled the game, both with and without the ball.”
The Dons broke the deadlock on Saturday in superb style through Dylan Adjei-Hersey. Kwaku Frimpong, who was a driving force in the national cup win, won the ball on the left wing. He then sent through a lovely ball into the path of Adjei-Hersey, who took one touch, before cracking a powerful shot home via the crossbar. There was a chance to double the advantage when Troy Chiabi earned a penalty after being brought down by the keeper, but he hit a post with the subsequent spot-kick.
With just a one-goal lead heading into the latter stages, Wimbledon needed a second to hold off Southend, and the advantage was doubled in the 82nd minute. Frimpong was involved again, heading a loose ball up to Chiabi, who took a touch and played a good pass through to David Kawa, who was fouled in the area. Captain Isaac Ogundere stepped up confidently and sent the keeper the wrong way from the penalty spot. At the other end, Dons keeper Luka Ziger was impressive between the sticks as he helped to earn a clean sheet.
Rob Tuvey added that a tactical tweak worked well on the day for the Under-18s.
“We made a little change in shape, and I thought the boys adapted to that so well, especially with just one day of preparation on it. They have had a really good week and have put into practice the work we did in training. Now they have set those standards we have to keep looking forward and looking at how we are going to improve, but as a squad at the moment we are in a really good place.
“Abdi Ali was absolutely superb, he controlled the midfield. It was the first time Abdi and Kwaku had played in a midfield two together, and I thought they did really well. Dylan was a constant threat throughout, took his goal superbly well, and probably should have had another couple. Overall, it was a team performance, but I also want to highlight Luka’s performance in goal. As an Under-16 coming in, he did well to earn a clean sheet. I thought he was commanding and really assured throughout, so I am really pleased with him as well.”
AFC Wimbledon Under-18s versus Southend: Luka Ziger, Isaac Ogundere (C), Luke Jenkins, Ethan Sutcliffe, Josh Hallard, Ben Mason, Kwaku Frimpong, Abdi Ali, Dylan Adjei-Hersey, Troy Chiabi, Quaine Bartley. Subs: Marcel Campbell, David Kawa, Ibrahim Bangura, Adejola Lahan.
Pic credit: Jimmy Brailsford
Click on the links below to watch highlights from the game, plus Rob Tuvey’s full interview.