Milton Keynes Dons Under-18s endured a difficult day at the office as they lost 6-1 at home to Southend United at Woughton-on-the-Green on Saturday morning.
Things started well for the Dons who took the lead with their first chance of the match on 10 minutes as a corner from the left side was half-volleyed into the net by defender Joe Steele to make it 1-0.
Midway through the first half the side from Essex levelled proceedings as from a free-kick a long ball upfield was allowed to bounce before a Shrimpers player put it into the net for 1-1.
The Dons were still posing an attacking threat particularly with midfielder Andrew Osei-Bonsu who had a couple of shots from distance, one which went just over the crossbar and another which clipped the woodwork on its way over.
The visitors then took the lead on 38 minutes from a corner which was headed in by a dark blue shirt from around the penalty spot into the right hand side of the net to make it 2-1.
With just a couple of minutes to play until the break, the Shrimpers extended their advantage when a ball from around the halfway line split the Dons defence and allowed Joe Bedford, who was judged onside by the officials, to run through and calmly stroke the ball past Dons keeper Andrew McCorkell into the right corner of the net to make it 3-1.
In the second half the Dons were being mainly restricted to shots from distance, but just after the break the Shrimpers keeper was forced to be alert to save a good strike from Dons captain Adam Hunt from around 20 yards out.
The visitors extended their lead on 56 minutes with a similar goal to the third as a ball through found a substitute player, who finished the ball calmly into the same corner of the net to make it 4-1.
Southend were increasingly dominating the match and extended their lead with a breakaway goal midway through the second half.
After Dons forward Dylan Asonganyi had a shot blocked inside the visitors’ box, they broke upfield and a through ball found their number nine Daniel Walker who was judged onside and rounded McCorkell before finishing into the net to make it 5-1.
The visitors rounded off their scoring on 84 minutes as Walker scored his second as again he was just judged onside by the officials and finished into the same corner to make it 6-1.
The Dons had a final chance for a consolation goal on 89 minutes as a corner found substitute Hugo Logan whose goalbound shot was tipped over the bar by the keeper.
It was a game in which the Dons had some promising moments going forward, but it will also act as a learning curve as they were found out at the back by a Southend forward line who got in behind on a number of occasions.
After the match, Dons' Head of Academy Coaching Edu Rubio said: “I thought that the first half was good because we started well and scored from a corner.
“We dominated the possession and exploited the flanks and were very creative. Even though we finished the first half 3-1 behind the boys did well, worked on their individual targets and were positive.
“In the second half, we dominated possession and had a few shots, however the opposition were very clever, they broke on the counter and their number nine, who I thought was man of the match knew how to play against our centre-backs.
“That is something we need to get better at. We need to work on how to deal with the counters and the long balls because we weren’t good enough today in that respect.”
Dons captain Adam Hunt said: “I think there is a lot to take from today’s game because in possession we showed we could be positive and I thought we dominated in that area.
“Concentration, communication and organisation defensively wasn’t good enough. I think a lot of their goals were sloppy and a because of a lack of concentration from us.”
MK Dons (4-3-3): McCorkell: Kioso, Steele, Omar (Jackson 60), Stratton: Hunt (capt), Osei-Bonsu, Hadden (Logan 65): Bell, Owusu (Palmiero 70), Asonganyi.
Subs not used: Pickworth, Evans.
Goal: Steele 10.
Referee: Paul Greenfield.