Giorgio Rasulo put in a five-star performance as MK Dons Under-18s saw off Dagenham & Redbridge in a 13-goal thriller last weekend.
Rasulo’s five well-taken goals, along with a poachers finish from Ben Tilney and a brace from substitute Kabongo Tshimanga, earned Mike Dove’s side their third victory of the season, their first in the FA Youth Alliance Cup.
Despite being without Brendan Galloway due to first team commitments and injured quartet Harry Hickford, Aaron Weston, Remy Forrester and Ben Grant, the Young Dons made the trip down to Essex full of confidence after their 5-3 win over Southend United.
And after a bright start they took the lead courtesy of England Under-17 international Giorgio Rasulo, who netted his third goal of the season with a well-taken left-footed finish after cutting in from the right.
Goalkeeper Charlie Burns was then forced into making a good save low down to his left before Rasulo scored his second of the game after some good work from Jacob Daffern and Kelvin Osei-Addo.
A minute later, Lawrence Vaughan had a long-distance effort parried by the Daggers ‘keeper which allowed Tilney to tap home a third Dons goal. Rasulo then completed a 30 minute hat-trick to make it 4-0 on the half hour - the 16-year-old finishing off a 20-pass move with a superb finish from outside the box.
With their four-goal cushion, the Young Dons seemingly took their foot off the gas and two goals either side of half-time from the Daggers had them within another two of drawing level.
Rasulo, though, restored the advantage with his fourth of the morning on 70 minutes before Tshimanga rounded the keeper seven minutes later to make it 6-2.
Tilney then set up Tshimanga for the Dons’ seventh with Rasulo completing the visitor’s scoring ten minutes from the end with a tight-angled shot.
Once again, the Dons became complacent with their mighty lead as the game drew to a close and their lacklustre finish allowed the Daggers three late goals to take the score up to an incredible 8-5.
The late rally, however, didn’t prevent the Young Dons getting their FA Youth Alliance Cup campaign off to the best possible start much to the delight of their manager.
Speaking after the game, Director of Youth Dove said: “We dominated play and we scored eight great goals. For 15 minutes in the first half and five minutes in the second we took our foot off the gas and became complacent but we eventually got back to our way of playing.
“A real highlight for me was the performance of the keeper and our two central defenders. Kyran (Wiltshire) was playing out of position as well as Luke (Tingey), who had an impressive 102 passes as a left centre-back.
“We want our defenders to play out from the back as well their defensive jobs, which takes courage. With more experienced players out injured the younger boys are being exposed early and it will only benefit them in the long run.”
(Luke Tingey, above, was praised by Mike Dove after the game for his impressive performance at the back for the Young Dons)
MK Dons (4-2-1-3): Burns; Daffern (Hunt 84), Wiltshire, Tingey, Okito; Vaughan (Weston 63), Osae; Summerfield; Tilney, Rasulo, Osei-Addo (Tshimanga 63).
Subs: Taylor (GK)