Our Under-18s passed a different kind of challenge last weekend by earning victory without their manager!
Right-back Ben Mason was the unlikely goal hero on the pitch as he scored twice in a 4-2 win at home to Leyton Orient, but it was a real collective effort. Manager James Oliver-Pearce was not there to guide the the squad as the players were left to take charge of all team matters themselves.
Injured players David Kawa and Jola Lahan made key contributions and Ben (pictured centre above) praised the teamwork shown on the day by everyone involved.
“I think first of all we have to say thanks to David, Jola, and our staff behind the scenes for their help," he said. "It was quite tough because before the game we were not sure if the game was going to be on, due to the pitches. We looked at about three different pitches to see if we could play on them, but eventually, thanks to the officials, we managed to get the game on.
“In the first 20 minutes we were not good enough, but in the second-half we showed what a good team we are. The team spirit is unbelievable, including off the pitch, in training, and the work we do in the gym. Not one of us in the team let our heads drop. We have managed to get back into games from losing positions all season. This was another example of what we can do."
Reuben Mason and Paris Lock scored the other goals in the 4-2 win as the young Dons tightened their grip on top spot in the league.
Jola Lahan said: "With the group we have we were never going to shy away from the challenge. With James not being here we felt like we had to take on responsibility and control even more. After scoring the first goal we always believed that we could win.”
Click on the links below to watch highlights from the game and an interview with Ben, David, and Jola.