MK Dons Under-18s endured a difficult day at the office as they lost 5-0 to AFC Wimbledon at Woughton-on-the-Green.
The London side scored two first-half goals and three more in the second period as they recorded a comprehensive victory, leaving the Young Dons still searching for a first win of the campaign.
The visitors took the lead in the 12th minute after an error by Dons keeper George Rose who fumbled a close-range shot which allowed it to squirm into the net. 0-1.
AFC Wimbledon continued to pile the pressure on and almost doubled their lead in the 20th minute, only denied by a clearance from a Dons defender in front of the goal-line following a bout of head tennis.
The Dons spurned a golden chance to level midway through the first half which was created after the ball was laid off for Tali Jallow. Jallow caught the ball sweetly but unluckily for the Dons his rising right-footed effort cannoned off the crossbar and ricocheted away to safety.
Another mix-up at the back allowed AFC Wimbledon to double their lead in the 34th minute after Rose came out and failed to gather a ball. The loose ball was guided towards goal by an AFC Wimbledon player and it looked like the covering Dons player would clear away from in front of the line but he lost his footing and the ball trickled into the net. 0-2.
The visitors nearly made it three on the stroke of half-time as an AFC Wimbledon player hit a speculative effort from distance towards goal as he spotted Rose off his line. Rose appeared to get a touch to the ball which hit the bar and bounced away to safety but in the process the keeper collided with the frame of the goal and was substituted during the interval.
Ten minutes into the second half AFC Wimbledon put the game to bed as they made it three with a good individual goal after one of their players ran into the box, evaded a couple of challenges and hit a low shot into the back of the net. 0-3.
As the game approached the hour mark, the Dons almost scored with a freak effort after what appeared to be a cross from the right bounced off the angle of crossbar and left-hand post with the keeper beaten, and bounced to safety.
Moments later, AFC Wimbledon increased their lead when a corner from the right hand side was headed powerfully into the net. 0-4.
The visitors put the seal on a convincing victory with 20 minutes to go when the ball was well finished from a tight angle inside the box. 0-5.
Speaking after the match, Academy manager Jon Goodman said: “It was difficult today but I felt the first half was a good performance because we controlled the game in terms of ball possession.
"We didn’t convert our possession into clear chances often enough and when we misplaced our passes or lost the ball AFC Wimbledon were very clinical in taking their opportunities. The first two goals were presented to them rather than being goals that were earned which was disappointing.
“In the second half it was a different game and we struggled to continue our good work from the first half. The three goals in the second half came in quick succession which was a blow to us."
He continued: “We had a nice mix of Under-16s and first and second years in the team, but with some of our more experienced players out on work placements with professional clubs we are being left with a weaker side.
“We had some younger players performing well in attacking areas and I think the Under-18s will experience more pain with results before we see the fruits of our labour in the next six or seven months.
“We have to look longer term which is difficult week-to-week. We have been competitive in all the games this season but not for long enough. There is talent there definitely but as a team they can’t combine at the moment to get the results.
“As coaches we have tried lots of different ways to help them continue learning including getting them to understand the process rather than focusing on the result.
“They have to go away and work out the areas of their game that were good and the areas that need to be improved to help us give a better team performance that means we can get victories.
“There is a great opportunity for these players if they can play to the best of their ability – the door is always open for them to the first team.”
Starting XI: Rose (Carter 46), Robinson, Black, Freeman, Leach, Davies (Riley 42), Rowley, Bailey (Crane 63), Holmes (Deall 58), Jallow, Ilunga (Johnson 63).