MK Dons Under-18s produced an impressive second-half fight-back to draw 2-2 with Cambridge United at Woughton-on-the-Green.
They got off to the worst possible start five minutes in as Cambridge took the lead when a ball from the right was drilled across the box and finished easily by a United player from inside the six-yard area. 0-1.
The Dons continued on the back foot and were lucky to survive a goalmouth scramble from a corner a few minutes later.
Home keeper Alfie Jones then made an impressive save from a close range shot midway through the second half, tipping it onto the post before the ball went away to safety.
On the half-hour mark the visitors deservedly extended their lead with a breakaway goal which caught the Dons short at the back – a cross from the left finished from close range. 0-2.
After a first half where the Dons created very little, things got better after the break after they got on the scoresheet 46 seconds into the second period – midfielder Osei-Bonsu trying his luck with a fierce shot from just outside the box which went into the net and cut the deficit to one. 1-2.
The Dons impressive second-half reaction continued and just before the hour mark they won a penalty. Thomas-Asante took the spot-kick and slotted it calmly down the middle having sent the keeper to the right – parity was restored. 2-2.
With the home side now firmly on the front foot, they had the chance to take an unlikely lead a few minutes later after Osei-Bonsu’s cross from the right evaded Thomas-Asante.
The ball then fell to Sam Nombe however the midfielder’s effort was deflected wide for a corner which the visitors eventually managed to clear after another goalmouth scramble as the Dons continued to pile on the pressure.
Dons keeper Jones was at his best to help preserve parity as following a cross from the left he showed impressive reflexes to tip away a close range header.
In what was a game of completely contrasting halves, the Dons showed good character to produce a much-improved second-half performance and earn a deserved draw.
After the match, Dons head of academy coaching Edu Rubio said: “In the first half we started very sloppy, and we struggled with the opposition’s high pressing game.
“The first goal came from an error from one of our boys but their second, to be fair, came through good combination play from their forwards.
“At half-time we had a chat with the boys and said we had to forget about the first half and come out and start strongly in the second and then within 15 minutes we were level at 2-2.
“I feel we did enough to win the game at the end but overall I’m happy. I was very pleased with our reaction after half-time but we shouldn’t get ourselves in that position in the first place.”
Starting XI (4-3-3): Jones: Kioso, Tapp, Jackson (capt), Hope: Kasumu, Osei-Bonsu, Evans (Bird 65): Nombe, Bell (Wright h-t), Thomas-Asante.
Goals: Osei-Bonsu (46), Thomas-Asante (58 pen)