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Report: U18s 1-0 Cambridge United

22 February 2016

The Under-18s secured back-to-back victories in the Youth Alliance Merit League 2 with a 1-0 win over Cambridge United at Woughton-on-the-Green on Saturday morning.

The Dons dominated possession and chances throughout the match, but had to wait until the 89th minute for the decisive moment courtesy of right-back Juma Omar.

Mike Dove’s side made three changes from the side that won 3-1 away to Stevenage last weekend with Omar, Sam Nombe and Harry Stratton coming into the starting XI in place of Kevin Owusu, Peter Kioso and Brandon Thomas-Asante.

Just 60 seconds into the game, the Dons survived a massive let-off as a mix-up at the back allowed the Cambridge number nine to nip in ahead of keeper Andrew McCorkell. His first shot was blocked by a covering Dons defender and then the ball then rebounded to the same Cambridge player who hit the crossbar when it looked easier to score.

The Dons dominated the match from then on and had a great chance on 20 minutes to open the scoring when a ball was punched into the air by the visitors’ keeper before landing at the feet of Dons midfielder Stratton, shot over the bar.

There was another opening for the Dons in the 26th minute as the ball came to striker Hugo Logan inside the box however his shot was blocked by the United keeper.

The visitors were finding themselves penned in inside their penalty area and five minutes before the interval an effort from Connor Furlong cleared the bar by only a few yards as the Dons continued to press.

Another long-range effort from Furlong was deflected just over the bar in the 58th minute, as the Dons continued in pursuit of the goal that their dominance of the game deserved.

The second-year scholar continued to be at the heart of the scoring opportunities and on 65 minutes he got inside the penalty box only to see his left-footed shot parried to safety by the keeper.

Then, in the final minute of regulation time, the Dons finally made their pressure tell when a ball from the right found full-back Omar and he slotted calmly into the net from 10-yards before being buried under a pile of yellow shirts, as the jubilant Dons celebrated a hard-earned win in which perseverance paid off.
Director of Youth Mike Dove said after the match:  “We enjoyed a lot of possession and had plenty of chances and shots blocked.

“I talked the players through their defence responsibilities when play broke down at half-time. After a slight adjustment at the back we got control of the game again.

“As the game wore on, particularly with the wind in our favour in the second half, we kept getting the ball and because Cambridge were very compact it was a challenge for the boys in terms of their patience and composure.

“Last week we had the same thing with getting late goals so it is pleasing that we kept playing our way, kept the belief and didn’t get frustrated.

“I was really pleased with the character the players showed."

Starting XI (3-1-3-1-2): McCorkell; Omar, Steele, Jackson; Hunt (c); Osei-Bonsu (Kioso 55), Hadden, Stratton (Owusu 63); Furlong; Logan (Thomas-Asante 63), Nombe.

Sub not used: Pickworth.

Goal: Omar 89.

Referee: Neil Eyfield.

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