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Loan Watch: Ollie excels in a five-star performance

A comprehensive weekend round-up of our players in action elsewhere

25 March 2024


Loan Watch: Ollie excels in a five-star performance

A comprehensive weekend round-up of our players in action elsewhere

25 March 2024

Several of our young Dons were involved in the action on Non League Day at the weekend, and it proved to be an education for all.

With crowds boosted at lower levels during the break for international fixtures, Ollie Downs, Leo Young, Kai Jennings and Harry Sidwell had differing outcomes on Saturday, but overall added to their experiences at senior level after going out on loan.

Defender Ollie Downs figured in our FA Youth Cup run this season and he’s now developing his game with Isthmian South East side Burgess Hill Town. They recorded an impressive 5-1 victory at East Grinstead Town, which Ollie featured in.

“It went very well,” said Ollie. “I played the full 90 minutes. We’re starting to build a really good atmosphere around the squad now, so I’m hoping to continue with this recent run of form. I thought personally it was my best game so far for the Hill and I’m looking forward to what’s ahead of us.”

Young 16.9 SU.jpg

Leo Young was also a part of the young Dons backline, but last week he started his loan at Isthmian Premier high-flyers Carshalton Athletic.

Like ourselves, they’re just outside the play-off places and their line-up includes former Dons youngsters with Aaron Jones in goal and Kwaku Frimpong in midfield. The Robins suffered a disappointing 1-0 defeat at Cheshunt, but Leo made his first appearance in Carshalton colours as a late substitute.

“I’ve settled in well with the group at Carshalton,” said Leo. “I’m playing with a good set of players who want to achieve promotion through the play-offs.

“I got on against Cheshunt and thought I did well for the time I was involved and so did the manager, who said so after the game. I’m looking forward to the Easter fixtures next week and hopefully I can build on my minutes so far in men’s football.”

Midfield colleague Kai Jennings will remember his first start with Whitehawk last Tuesday for a long time to come.

Having come up with an assist as a substitute against Kingstonian, he went one better in the Isthmian Premier fixture at Sussex rivals Bognor Regis Town. Kai opened the scoring in a 2-2 draw and went on to earn the club’s man of the match accolade.

Kai got a further 85 minutes on his home debut at the weekend against runaway leaders Hornchurch, but unfortunately the damage was done by half-time with the visitors 4-0 up and that’s how it finished.

Kai and Harry 16.9.jpg

Fellow midfielder Harry Sidwell made his second appearance for Kingstonian, featuring for the last quarter of their game at Potters Bar Town. At the time Ks were 5-1 down, but conceded just one more before the final whistle.

Closer to home, back at our New Malden training base on Saturday morning, our quartet’s Under-18s teammates registered the first win in their third Merit League 1 match.

Simon Clark’s young Dons scored twice in the first half against Oxford United and although the visitors got one back before the end, our youth team moved off the bottom of the table and up to seventh place.

Goalkeeper Max Foulkes, on loan to Ashford Town (Middlesex), joined our first team in Cheshire to assist in the warm-up with senior keepers Alex Bass and Nik Tzanev.

Elsewhere, defender Ethan Sutcliffe continues to figure regularly in the Tonbridge Angels starting line-up. He was a member of the team that won 2-1 at home to Truro City in National League South.

Defender Sean Sankanu was named in Corinthian-Casuals starting line-up - who lost 3-1 at King George’s Field to Badshot Lea in the Isthmian South Central. Forward Quaine Bartley got on for the final 13 minutes of Merstham’s 2-1 defeat at Littlehampton Town in the South East division.

Yesterday, defender Josh Hallard came on as a substitute for the last quarter of an hour or so - replacing Tom Beere - as Cray Wanderers lost 1-0 to Folkestone Invicta in the Isthmian Premier.

Photos: Simon Davies (Pro Sports Images).

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