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Minutes for first-teamers in FTDL clash

30 September 2015

A number of first-team players gained valuable minutes in the Dons’ Final Third Development League clash with Southend United on Wednesday evening.

Lee Hodson, Cristian Benavente, Sergio Aguza, Daniel Powell, Sam Gallagher and Nicky Maynard all played 90 minutes in the game, which finished 2-0 to the visitors from Essex.

Keith Andrews took charge of the game and opted for a 4-4-2 formation with Gallagher and Maynard alongside each other up-front.

The Dons started brightly and had the game’s first chance after just four minutes – Powell striking the crossbar with a fierce effort from 20-yards.

That shot was be followed up by one from Hodson six minutes later but the right-back drove his low effort wide after some good work from captain Giorgio Rasulo.

Rasulo was at the heart of most of the Dons’ early attacks and he almost bagged himself an assist after threading through Maynard, however the striker fired over when one-on-one.

The young midfielder then had an effort of his own from the right side of the box on 12 minutes and it produced a good save out of Southend keeper Ted Smith.

Dons continued to dominate the opening exchanges and they went close again midway through the first half when Powell forced another top save out of the Shrimpers goalie from inside the box.

That Powell chance came moments after Southend had hit the underside of the crossbar with their first real opportunity of the game.

The Dons stayed in control for the remainder of the first period but weren’t really able to create a clear opening on goal, aside from a Maynard  shot from distance which fell off target.

Their dominance continued into the second half and Powell went close with a 20-yard effort just three minutes after the restart.

Aguza then curled one over from the edge of the D before Maynard had a diving header blocked following some good work by Gallagher down the right.

Although spending most of the game on the back foot, Southend were proving to be a threat on the counter attack and their captain Jack Bridge produced a superb stop out of Charlie Burns on the hour mark – the Dons keeper got down low to deny the midfielder with a strong right hand.

Burns was called upon again soon after, this time to deal with a long-ranger heading for the top corner, and the 20-year-old came up trumps with a decent diving save to his right.

He was, though, finally beaten in the 77th minute when Nico Cotton drilled a low shot across his outstretched left hand and into the far corner of the net to put his side, the visitors, ahead. 0-1.

Southend were then able to double their lead and secure victory five minutes later when Jason Williams finished off from 12-yards following some good work from his team-mate Jack Payne. 0-2.

Starting XI: Burns; Brittain, Steele (Furlong), Hunt, Hodson; Benavente, Rasulo (c) (Owusu 84), Aguza, Powell; Gallagher, Maynard.

Unused subs: Pickworth.

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