Aaron Pressley came through his first match in Wimbledon colours, as Mark Robinson's side were defeated by Kingstonian tonight.
Pressley, signed on loan from Brentford, offered some sharp touches early on when Wimbledon were on top, before he departed on the hour, along with our other first-team players. A first-half goal by Simon Cooper set Isthmian Premier Division side Ks on the way, before a cracking late strike by former Dons striker Elliott Buchanan earned a 2-0 victory. We ended the match with a very youthful side, a host of Under-18s entering the fray for the latter stages.
There was plenty of fine approach play and good passing in the first-half from Wimbledon, but a cutting edge was lacking, and Kingstonian were in determined mood to earn a notable pre-season scalp.
Mark Robinson fielded a mixture of first-teamers and young talents for the match at King George’s Field. Aaron Pressley made his first Dons appearance after joining on loan from Brentford with George Marsh quickly getting another match in blue and yellow under his belt, partnering the experienced Alex Woodyard at the heart of midfield. A 3-5-2 formation was the choice of formation by Robbo from the outset with Huseyin Biler and Nesta Guinness-Walker asked to provide fluidity on the flanks in the wing back positions.
With Ks playing their matches at Corinthian Casuals, it meant that the Dons were back at the scene of last summer’s first behind-closed-doors friendly match. It didn’t take long for Wimbledon to threaten through Corie Andrews. The striker, who showed his potential with goals in the London Senior Cup last season at Plough Lane, marched through on goal against his old club, but his shot was cleared off the line. Woodyard used his experience to get on the ball and take a grip on possession, but the Dons were unable to make the most of their superiority.
Jack Rudoni had produced a lively start, but he was temporarily stopped in his tracks through a clash of heads when attempting to beat his marker on the right side. That held up the game for four minutes, but thankfully Rudi was back on his feet and into the action again after receiving treatment. Huseyin Biler, who had been so impressive against Brentford on Saturday, showed his directness and energy once again when he got in behind the Ks defence, but his cross was just cut out. That pretty much summed up Wimbledon’s attacking so far as the approach play was of real quality, but the final ball was lacking. In midfield, smart play on the ball by Woodyard and Marsh meant that the Dons retained plenty of possession as we edged towards half-time.
With Wimbledon struggling to fashion clear-cut chances, Guinness-Walker tried his luck from 30 yards, but his shot flashed over the crossbar. Paul Kalambayi also shot over with an angled volley, but Ks took the lead against the run of play in the 45th minute. A routine free-kick delivery was headed back at the far post and Ks captain Simon Cooper made no mistake from close range.
The second-half started with Wimbledon taking the game to Ks, but the hosts stayed resolute in defence. Certainly, the Isthmian League Premier side were proving to be a tough nut to crack as they stopped the Dons from getting in behind them. Mark Robinson made eight substitutions on the hour with Aaron Pressley among those to depart after his first minutes in a Dons shirt. It didn’t take long for Quaine Bartley to make an impression as he tried his luck with a shot from outside the box that the goalkeeper just managed to palm aside.
In a second-half of few chances, Ks substitute Elliott Buchanan, who had a spell with us during our non league days, fired into the side netting. However, it was just a temporary reprieve for the Dons as Buchanan doubled the advantage. After being allowed to turn inside from the left, Buchanan struck a superb effort that arrowed into the bottom corner. It was definitely the moment of the match, a piece of real quality from the non league hosts. In response, the young Dons side that finished the match came closest to creating a chance when David Fisher almost got through on goal, but more good defending stopped him in his tracks.
The Dons failed to find a way back into this match, and the pre-season games continue to come thick and fast with a scheduled game at Hampton & Richmond Borough up next on Friday night.
AFC Wimbledon: Zaki Oualah, trialist (Leo Young), Paul Kalambayi (Reuben Collins), Isaac Ogundere, George Marsh (Abdi Ali), Alex Woodyard (Kwaku Frimpong), Nesta Guinness-Walker (Josh Hallard), Huseyin Biler (Quaine Bartley), Jack Rudoni (Morgan Williams), Corie Andrews (Paris Lock), Aaron Pressley (David Fisher).
Pic credit: Trevor Williams.