An MK Dons Under-17s side played out a nine-goal thriller with Reading on Saturday, coming out on top courtesy of a late Kyran Wiltshire goal.
The Dons were without a League game last weekend due to the FA Youth Cup and so, instead, made the short trip down to Berkshire to take on the junior Royals outfit - a Category 1 outfit.
Director of Youth Dove took the opportunity to try out his younger scholars as well as several of his Under-16 players, all of whom will be hoping to earn scholarships themselves for the next season. The Dons were, however, without defender Danny Collinge as he had just linked up with England ahead of the Nike USA Tournament with England.
It was Reading who made the stronger start to the friendly, with the Dons careless in possession early on, and it was no surprise when, 10 minutes in, the hosts took a deserved lead after a break through the middle.
The Dons, though, hit back almost immediately courtesy of Laurence Vaughan, who managed to squeeze a shot passed the opposition ‘keeper from the edge of the box after cutting in from the right-hand touchline.
Seven minutes later Reading restored their lead – making the most of a free header at the far post – before the Dons pulled level for a second time, with Vaughan, again, the man getting on the scoresheet with another shot from the right-hand side of the box.
Despite their impressive showing, Dove’s side did go in at the break 3-2 down following another defensive error but they quickly made amends after the re-start.
Kevin Owusu, a schoolboy brought on by Dove at half-time, was fortunate to see his misplaced pass fall back to him and he gobbled up his chance to make it 3-3 with a neat finish.
Another half-time replacement, goalkeeper Ben Taylor, was also having a strong second half and his important saves proved all-the-more vital when Kabongo Tshimanga swept home a penalty on 79 minutes to give the Dons their first lead of the game.
The Royals did hit back in the 85th minute with an equaliser but fortunately for the Dons, Wiltshire (pictured) was able to add the game’s ninth goal in injury time to seal a morale-boosting victory.
MK Dons (3-4-3): Van Der Schoot, Steele, Tingey, Bradbury; Okito, Wiltshire, Weston, Tilney; Vaughan, Tshimanga, Cox
Subs: Taylor (GK), Furlong, Palmiero, Owusu.