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Ollie and Jack take vital steps on the road to recovery at Eastbourne

Academy Manager on last night’s match for our development squad

3 March 2021

Ollie Palmer edged closer to a first-team return by coming through 45 minutes at Eastbourne Borough last night.

Ollie, who had been out with a hip injury since scoring in the home match versus Lincoln City three months ago, featured in a 2-2 draw for our development squad versus Eastbourne’s first-team, who recently had their National League South season curtailed prematurely.

Our Academy Manager Michael Hamilton, who took charge of the team on the night, was delighted to include Jack Madelin in his starting line-up. The defender had been out with injury for almost a year after making his first-team debut at Burton last season.

Paul Osew featured for 68 minutes at Eastbourne with Dan Csoka playing for an hour and Zach Robinson made his comeback after injury by replacing Ollie for the second-half.

Ollie twice came close to marking his return with a goal in the first-half. A marauding run down the left by Osew created an early chance for the striker, but his shot was deflected wide. Then he just failed to get enough on a cross by Osew, who this time showed his attacking qualities down the right. Wimbledon opened the scoring in the 37thminute through a superbly taken free-kick by trialist Yasin Ben El-Mhanni.

The Dons doubled the advantage in the 55th minute through another impressive goal. Jack Currie showed good vision to pick out Zach Robinson and his knock down fell nicely for David Fisher, who struck a brilliant effort that left the keeper with no chance. It appeared that Wimbledon were on the road to victory, but Eastbourne scored two goals in the final seven minutes through Dean Cox and Charlie Lambert. Former Dons midfielder Chris Whelpdale was in the Eastbourne line-up last night.

Following the match, Michael Hamilton said: “First of all, I want to say a huge congratulations to Jack Madelin, who played his first game in over 11 months. It was good to see him take the next step on his road to recovery. It was a highly competitive fixture, against a very experienced Eastbourne side.

“Our start wasn’t good enough and we’ve been honest and agreed that  we were fortunate to not go behind early on. We looked a little ‘naive’ and allowed them to dictate the early stages. It was the middle part of the game when we were at our best. We had good positional play across the pitch, we were patient in possession, and took up good decisions to be effective. Towards the end we looked like a side who hadn’t played a lot of minutes recently, and we lost our rhythm and structure.

“To concede a two-goal lead in the final 10 minutes against anyone is disappointing. People will say their first goal was a great strike and that their second goal came after good combination play, but in the build up to both we had moments to keep the ball and have better control of the situation. Starting a game on the front foot with a structure and then seeing out a game of football, whilst playing with an identity, when the momentum has shifted, is what we will have to get used to. Though we are very disappointed, these experiences need to happen for the boys to learn from it.”

AFC Wimbledon:  Tzanev, Biler (Chiabi), Currie, Procter, Csoka (Ogundere), Bolton, Madelin (Adjei-Hersey), Osew (Taylor, Osew), Fisher, Palmer (Robinson), El-Mhanni.

You can watch the whole game from Eastbourne last night by clicking on the link below to Eastbourne's official You Tube channel.


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