Edu Rubio was full of praise for his Under-23s side after they secured their place in the Berks and Bucks FA County Senior Cup Semi Finals with a dominant victory at Windsor.
The Dons progressed through to the final four of the local competition for the third time in six years courtesy of a 5-0 triumph at Stag Meadow. All five goals came during a thrilling second half, including a 14-minute hat-trick from Brandon Thomas-Asante.
“The boys have been exceptional,” Rubio told iFollow MK Dons. “I’m pleased that we scored five goals but also that we didn’t concede, which was important as well. It was a dominant performance – not only in the opposite box but in our box as well.
“We went into half-time at 0-0 despite creating five or six clear chances – I must say, their keeper was exceptional. At half-time, we spoke about remaining patient and staying cool, and making sure we still created chances. The boys stuck to the plan and we found ourselves 1-0 up in the first five minutes – from there it was exceptional.
“Brandon was really good but tonight it was a collective effort. He doesn’t score those goals unless the team plays for him as well. Let’s not forget the back four and Wieger as well, as we haven’t conceded. I think highlighting only Brandon wouldn’t be fair to a very good collective performance.”
Wieger Sietsma, Conor McGrandles and Aidan Nesbitt were among the first-team players who were involved in Tuesday’s tie, with the latter getting himself on the scoresheet late on. Rubio was keen to highlight the impact they made both on and off the pitch.
“Every time we have first-team players with the Under-23s, they have always been very supportive to the youngsters - they listen and they stick to the game plan. What that does, is make the Under-18s and Under-23s step up as well. Both ends really worked well tonight.”
The Dons were supported in Berkshire by a number of supporters as well as Chairman Pete Winkelman, Club directors, Manager Dan Micciche and Assistant Manager Keith Millen.
“We always feel the support of our Chairman, directors and the first-team, as well as our fans,” Rubio added. “We are in the Semi Finals now and it will be great if those fans and maybe more can come and support us.”
Rubio’s final note was a message to his young players, who certainly made the most of their opportunity on Tuesday to impress the First-Team management
He said: “Our job is to supply the first team – we need to make sure that when the first team needs the assistance of any of our players that they are ready to perform.
“That’s why I have this persistence of daily improvements, because you never know what day is going to be the day that you are given the opportunity. These players need to make sure they embrace the opportunity to improve daily so that when they are called, they can make it happen.”
The Under-23s are back in action this coming Monday evening when they take on Bristol Rovers at Brackley Town Football Club.
Entry is priced at £6 adults, £3 over-65s and £1 under-18s while under-12s can attend for FREE. Entry can be paid for on the night at St. James Park – cash only. Gates open at 6pm.