Over 2,100 supporters watched on as the Dons’ U15s put on a spirited display in a 3-1 defeat to their Chelsea counterparts at stadiummk.
On a night where the players’ development was more important than the result, Samuel Nombe’s smart finish gave the hosts the lead before the Premier League side hit back courtesy of a brace from Tariqe Lamptey and a moment of magic from Harvey St Clair.
The match was the latest showcase game held at the stadium, which gives the youngsters at the Club the chance to test themselves on a bigger stage and show the fans what the future holds.
Dons’ starting line-up included England youth international Hugo Logan, who warmed up with the first team ahead of the final-day fixture against Leyton Orient.
Logan and his team-mates had the home supporters on their feet in the 14th
minute when good work from Nathan Tshikuna set up Nombe, who perfectly slid the ball past Jared Thompson.
Josh Grant and Ike Ugbo both went close for Chelsea before Lamptey levelled in some style on 33 minutes, curling an unstoppable effort into the top right-hand corner.
Nathan Pickworth ensured the Dons went in at the break on level terms thanks to a fine finger-tip save from Ugbo’s fierce 30-yard free-kick.
The visitors made a string of substitutions at half-time and it had the desired effect as one of them, St Clair, scored a stunning individual goal five minutes into the second period.
They soon opened up a two-goal advantage when, after brilliant play from another substitute, Dujon Sterling, Lamptey fired home his second from close range.
Despite more chances for Chelsea, one of which came back off the crossbar, Stephen Kirby’s men didn’t let their heads drop and Nombe saw a shot blocked as the Dons looked to reduce the deficit.
The final 20 minutes saw Kirby introduce his remaining substitutes as all of the on-field Dons gained some valuable experience.
Pickworth, Kioso, Stratton (Schulz 66), Jackson (c), Omar, Osei-Bonsu (Beckinsale 66), Tshikuna (Asonganyi 49), Kiwewesi (Tapp 61), Nombe (Osae 70), Logan (Oyakhire 66), Thomas-Asante (Nash 70). Dons:
Sterling, Baxter, Taylor-Crossdale, Quina, St Clair. Subs:
Thompson, Chalobah, Grant, Nartey, DaSilva, McCormick, Lamptey, Maddox, Ugbo, Mount, Kemp. Chelsea starting XI:
McCorkell. Unused sub: