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Paris unlocks Orient to secure last-32 place

Young Dons earn hard-fought win

7 December 2022

Club News

Paris unlocks Orient to secure last-32 place

Young Dons earn hard-fought win

7 December 2022

A first-half goal by Paris Lock proved crucial as AFC Wimbledon edged out Leyton Orient to book a place in the fourth round of the FA Youth Cup.

It was a hard-fought victory that moves Simon Clark's boys into the last-32 of a competition in which the Dons swept aside Burnley two seasons ago, before taking Spurs into extra-time.

On this evidence, perhaps there's the prospect of another memorable FA Youth Cup run, the Dons showing plenty of spirit to advance in this national competition. 

In the opening 15 minutes tonight, both sides used possession well, but neither team could make a breakthrough. A long-range strike from Morgan Williams was Wimbledon’s first real effort on goal, but his shot failed to trouble the keeper as it went wide.

The Dons opened the scoring just before the half-hour mark when Paris Lock reacted quickest after Orient keeper Noah Phillips could only parry Remi Onabanjo’s powerful effort.

The visitors had a chance to get back into the game almost straight away when one of their forwards was given time to fire at Wimbledon’s goal, but Harry Griffiths in the Wimbledon goal proved equal to it.

We threatened to add to the lead in attack, but thanks to some good work from the Orient defence it remained 1-0. Ebraima Davies then had the men from east London’s best chance of the half when his curled effort narrowly went wide as Wimbledon went in ahead at the break.

Orient had the first chance of the second-half when Reon Smith-Kouasi was put through on goal, before knocking the ball past the onrushing Griffiths, who recovered the ball but spilled it back to Smith-Kousai. An equaliser appeared to be a formality, but Ibrahim Bangura was there to put his body on the line to stop Orient’s goal-bound effort.

Momentum was with the visitors and they came close to equalising once more when Davies unleashed a powerful effort, but Griffiths expertly tipped the ball over the bar for a corner.

Wimbledon were still looking lively in attack and the introduction of Tom Wilson provided an injection of pace that Orient struggled to deal with. The Dons had a golden chance to wrap up the win when Aron Sasu was left unmarked, but his first-time strike was kept out by Orient keeper Phillips, who pulled off a classy save.

Wimbledon were pushed all the way by the visitors and Griffiths was called into action again just before the board went up for injury-time to keep out Charlie Pegrum’s effort, which looked like it was creeping in.

With eight minutes of injury-time added, there was still drama to come. Onabanjo was stopped from sealing the win as Orient’s keeper pulled off a fine save, but the visitors threw everything at Wimbledon in a last-gasp effort to equalise.

With the keeper up for a corner, Orient sent the ball in and the ball fell to Smith Kouassi, who somehow headed wide with the goal at his mercy as the whistle blew for full-time.

Wimbledon: Harry Griffiths, Mathias Tepe, Ibrahim Bangura, Harry Sidwell, Jola Lahan, Leo Young, Remi Onabnajo, Morgan Williams, Aron Sasu, Reuben Amissah, Paris Lock (Tom Wilson).

Pic credit: Lucy Dixon


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