Dons end with a draw – News
In our last Papa John’s Trophy group game, Portsmouth emerged with an extra point when they took the upper hand on penalties after a 1-1 draw.
It may have been an unfortunate end to the first phase of the competition for our side, but a young Wimbledon side more than matched their League One hosts for much of regulation time.
The main highlight for us at Fratton Park was a brilliant individual goal from Ayoub Assal, while there were brilliant performances from captain on the night Isaac Ogundere, Huseyin Biler and the lively Aron Sasu, to name a few.
Portsmouth’s 3-1 penalty win gave them two points on the night – one more than the Dons – but both sides progressed to the last-32 of the competition with Wimbledon as group winners.
We will now aim to continue our progress in the knockout stages later this season.
Johnnie Jackson made many changes to the side that dramatically defeated Harrogate Town 3-2 with only Assal and Paris Maghoma retaining their places in the starting eleven.
Meanwhile, youngsters Sasu and Morgan Williams were named on a bench that also featured Josh Davison, Alex Woodyard, Ryley Towler, Jack Currie and Nik Tzanev.
With the hosts needing at least a point to progress to the knockout stages, they understandably named an experienced side who quickly threatened in the opening quarter.
Fortunately for the Dons, Kyle Hudlin was on hand to head clear off the line as Pompey went close from an early corner. We weren’t going to get off easily the next time they came forward as Ronan Curtis fired home after an initial shot had been blocked in his path.
Hudlin was then first with an effort up the other end when he headed straight at Josh Oluwayemi. This seemed to spark Portsmouth into life, who were then denied a second by Nathan Broome’s smart stop.
Biler provided a good outlet from an unknown spot at left-back during the first half, with our side getting most of the joy down the fringes of a wet and windy Fratton Park.
Despite falling behind, we found another wind after the break and quickly equalized. A clearance was mistimed at the other end which led to Assal storming down the left, our number 10 working his way into some space before curling home a beauty into the top right corner of the net.
We came agonizingly close to taking the lead twice when Ogundere first saw his header down the notch of the line from a corner before Hudlin hit a 30-yard shot just wide of the near post.
Sasu injected pace from the bench and his runs and low crosses were almost finished by fellow substitute Currie. The striker then came close to scoring himself when his long-range effort almost crept in.
The 90 minutes of regular time ended level, meaning the match went to penalties. Kwaku Frimpong, Courtney Senior and Sasu unfortunately saw their spot-kicks saved, with the hosts winning on penalties 3-1.
AFC Wimbledon: Nathan Broome, Ayoub Assal (Jack Currie), Kyle Hudlin, Paris Maghoma (Alex Woodyard), Huseyin Biler, Alfie Bendle, Courtney Senior, Isaac Ogundere, Kwaku Frimpong, Luke Jenkins (Ryley Towler), Quaine Bartley (Aron Sasu ). )
PHOTOS: Graham Hunt (Pro Sports Images)