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James praises character of young Dons after cup win

Highlights and reaction after impressive cup win for our Under-18s

14 October 2021

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Our Under-18s stormed back from an early two-goal deficit at Cheltenham Town to reach the semi-final of the Southern Area Youth Alliance Cup.

A superb strike by Paris Lock after a fine team move proved decisive in a 3-2 victory, but that only told half the story after a first-half goal blitz.

The young Dons were a goal down inside the first minute on Tuesday when Joe Hunt struck with a fine angled drive, before a penalty by Brennan Denness-Barrett doubled the advantage in the eighth minute. However, that brought about a spirited response from Wimbledon with a penalty by Quaine Bartley starting the fightback after David Kawa had been fouled in the box. And there was better to come as Lock, our FA Youth Cup goal hero from the win against Burnley last season, equalised, before striking what turned out to be a fantastic winner in the 35th minute.

Speaking after the game, manager James Oliver-Pearce said: “There were lots of areas to be pleased with, specifically the character of the boys after going 2-0 down. They had to really dig in. Unfortunately when we’ve come on longer away journeys we’ve started every game really slowly, so we’ve got to look at that. Whether or not that’s to do with sleep, hydration, or whether we need a longer stop-off on the way, I’m not quite sure at the moment. I will be talking to the players to get their feedback.

“It was a quick turnaround in terms of goals in the first-half and in the second-half we were more disciplined in terms of making sure that we were in our shape. We were better structured for longer periods, albeit Alfie has made a couple of really good saves. We also missed a couple of really good chances as well. I’m pleased to go through to the next round, but, as always, there is lots that we can improve upon.”

Click on the links below to watch match highlights, plus an interview with James and Paris.

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