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Report: Arlesey Town 2-3 U18s

21 July 2015

The Under-18s picked up their first victory of pre-season with a 3-2 triumph over Arlesey Town at Armadillo Stadium.

Mike Dove’s side ran out to a two-goal lead in the first half thanks to goals from Kevin Owusu and Andrew Osei-Bonsu but the hosts responded and levelled things up early in the second period.

The young Dons were rewarded for their dominance, though, when Connor Furlong struck a stunning winner over the Blues keeper with 12 minutes remaining.

Dove made several changes to the XI which started the opening friendly against Buckingham Town two weeks ago, with first-years Peter Kioso, Juma Omar, Hugo Logan and Sam Nombe among those included from the begin.

The young Dons started well and tested goal within the first 60 seconds when Connor Furlong shot wide from 25-yards. Striker Nombe followed that up with chance of his own, two minutes later, but that effort was saved by the Arlesey keeper.

Dove’s side deservedly took the lead on 11 minutes when, after good work from Logan, Callum Brittain found Owusu with a cross and the second-year scholar drilled a shot beyond the stopper and a host of Arlesey defenders. 1-0.

The Dons’ dominance continued after the opener and eventually they doubled their lead courtesy of Osei-Bonsu who made the most of a defensive mistake and slotted cooly past the keeper – the midfielder fresh from scoring for the first-team against Buckingham Athletic on the weekend. 2-0.

Harry Stratton, Brittain and Logan all went close to extending the scoreline further before the hosts pulled a goal back with a stunning strike moments before half-time – an unfortunate blow for a Dons team that were well worth their two-goal lead. 2-1.

Logan could have, though, restored that margin five minutes into the second period but, after a mazy run into the Arlesey box, he failed to hit the target with an ambitious improvised shot.

Then, just a few exchanges later, the Blues drew level after a swift counter attack. McCorkell did save the initial effort at the far post but, on the floor, he couldn’t do anything to keep out the rebound. 2-2.

An injury to right-back Kioso forced Dove into a change and a re-shuffle just after the hour mark – Bell came on as a replacement but slotted in on the right wing with Brittain moving back into defence.

Brittain himself was withdrawn several minutes later, along with goalscorer Osei-Bonsu and striker Owusu, with a pair of schoolboys Joe Evans and Charlie Weatherhead, and trialist Phil Goodrum, coming on in their places.

Moments before those changes, Furlong had a great chance to restore the Dons’ lead but, after being set free, the lively midfielder shot off target. Nombe then forced a good save out of the Arlesey number 1 as Dove’s side began to dominate once again.

The chances on goal continued, with Evans and Goodrum both going close – the latter forcing a strong save with a curling effort from the edge of the box on the 75 minute mark.

Eventually, though, the constant pressure told.

On 78 minutes, the ball fell kindly for Furlong on the edge of the box. The Scotland youth international took a touch, composed himself and then looped a stunning strike over the goalkeeper and into the net to put the Dons back ahead. 3-2.

Furlong went close to adding some breathing room with another long-range effort which, this time, sailed over but it wasn’t too matter as Dove’s side held on to secure their first win of the summer – a thoroughly deserved victory which was earned by a top performance.

Starting XI: McCorkell (Pickworth 76); Kioso (Bell 62), Omar, Jackson, Stratton; Logan, Osei-Bonsu (Evans 64); Brittain (c) (Weatherhead 66), Furlong, Owusu (Goodrum 68); Nombe.

Subs not used: None

Goal: Owusu (11), Osei-Bonsu (24), Furlong (78)

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