MK Dons Under-18s endured a difficult day at the office as they lost 4-0 at home to AFC Wimbledon in their latest Youth Alliance League match at Woughton-on-the-Green.
The hosts made four changes from the XI that lost during their last league match a fortnight ago as Jenson Wright, Oran Jackson, Recoe Martin and Dylan Asonganyi replaced Peter Kioso, Finn Tapp, Joe Evans and Andrew Osei-Bonsu, respectively.
AFC Wimbledon took the lead in the 11th minute as the ball came to their number eight just outside the box. He hit a left-footed shot which rose during its flight and nestled into the top left hand corner of Nathan Pickworth’s goal, after glancing off the post on its way in. 0-1.
Four minutes later, the visitors doubled their lead from a set piece as the Dons gave away a free-kick about five yards outside of their box. Their taker hit the ball low and hard into the bottom right corner of the net. 0-2.
The Dons fell further behind on 36 minutes when midfielder David Kasumu fouled a Wimbledon player inside the box. The referee pointed to the spot and Pickworth was sent the wrong way as the penalty went into the right hand side of the net. 0-3.
It took until the second half for the Dons to have their first real chance on goal as in the 55th minute as Martin hit a shot from outside the box which cleared the bar by a few yards.
Midway through the second period, referee Kevin Norris awarded a second spot-kick to the Londoners for what he judged a pull-back inside the box by a Dons player. Once again, Pickworth was sent the wrong way from the spot as the ball went into the bottom right hand side of the net. 0-4.
Under new rules recently introduced by the league both teams are now allowed to make five changes, and with both sides using their full quota of replacements during the second half, the game struggled to get going.
Any hopes the Dons had of gathering momentum were also disrupted by fouls which became increasingly prevalent in the latter period of the game.
The Dons mustered their first shot on target in the 82nd minute as substitute Osei-Bonsu had an effort from around 20 yards out which proved a comfortable save for the AFC Wimbledon keeper.
Ultimately, the damage was done in the first half and AFC Wimbledon were able to control the game throughout and seal a comfortable win.
After the game, Dons head of academy coaching Edu Rubio said: “As has been happening in the last few weeks it was a really poor first half where we didn’t match their intensity and energy.
“We were a bit unfortunate because they only earned one goal because we gave away two penalties and one free-kick which allowed them to score three of their goals.
“We played out from the back well, although we weren’t as fluid as normal – it is about having the energy and desire to win.
“In the second half we matched them and did better and created a couple of chances. We still conceded a penalty although the second half was more what I expected and what I wanted from the first minute.
“The positives are the reaction that the boys had at half-time, that they realised they were not matching the opponents’ intensity, so they were honest with themselves and with me. The problems are not tactical understanding or game awareness, they are mainly concentration.”
Starting XI (4-3-3): Pickworth; Wright, Jackson (Kioso 46), Omar (Stratton 66), Hope; Kasumu (Evans 46), Asonganyi, Logan (c) (Tapp 66); Martin, Nombe (Osei-Bonsu 66), Bell.