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Report: U18s 0-1 Plymouth

9 March 2015

A much-changed Milton Keynes Dons Under-18s suffered a 1-0 loss against Plymouth Argyle in their latest match in the Youth Alliance Merit League at Woughton-on-the-Green on Saturday afternoon.

The hosts made six alterations from the side that also lost 1-0 at home to Peterborough last weekend, with Andrew McCorkell, Gedeon Okito, Joe Steele, Oran Jackson, Sam Nombe and Dominic Palmiero replacing Tom Wyant, Jacob Daffern, Aaran Weston, Jack Hadden, Laurence Vaughan and Kyran Wiltshire in the starting XI.

In a tight match played on a sunny but blustery afternoon, the hosts had to wait until the 25th minute for their first effort on goal as Owusu hit a shot just wide from the edge of the box as he pounced on a loose ball after Palmiero had been dispossessed.

Both sides also had shots on target which proved routine saves for the respective goalkeepers but otherwise the first half proved largely uneventful.

The Dons started the second half the brightest and had a good chance just a minute in when a cross from the right by Nombe found Owusu unmarked inside the box, however his shot was well saved by the Argyle keeper who palmed the ball away to keep the game goalless.

Five minutes later, the Dons created another good chance as after Nombe had a penalty appeal waved away by referee Mary Harmer, the ball found Tilney who made space for himself but dragged his shot wide and into the side netting.

Midway through the second half, the side from Devon created their clearest opening as a ball into the box from the right was punched away by McCorkell, however their captain then hooked the ball towards goal and watched as it clipped the angle of post and bar before it bouncing away to safety.

On 70 minutes, Plymouth broke the deadlock as a corner from the right-hand side was headed in by an Argyle player from around five yards out.

The header ultimately proved to be the difference in a tight game where a particularly youthful Dons side dominated play for large periods but were unable to force a breakthrough.

After the match, Director of Youth Mike Dove said: "We only had two second years starting because some of the older players are at other clubs. We had two 16-year-olds starting and a trialist on the bench so I said to the boys it was a different lot of challenges.

"I freshened things up and asked for hard work, desire and organisation and I was pleased with that side of things. I thought we showed good energy and I thought we controlled the first half without scoring. I thought we started the second half off strongly and we could have had two or three goals on another day.

"They pushed forward in the second half and were helped by the wind and we couldn’t get out of our own half. They then had a set piece and scored with a free header so it was disappointing to concede like that.

"Today result-wise it disappointing because we could have won it but I learned a lot about the players today – it was a good development day."

MK Dons (4-1-2-1-2): McCorkell: Hunt, Tingey, Jackson, Okito (capt): Steele: Tilney (Wiltshire 70), Palmiero: Furlong (Hadden 70): Owusu, Nombe (Lewis 64).

Subs not used: Wyant, Stratton.

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