Monday 13 September 2010
Youth Kick Off
It was a fantastic 2009/10 season for the AFC Wimbledon youth teams, exceeding even the most optimistic of expectations.
The new group of Under-16s, who had been playing together only since the start of the season, took a while to reach the required level of understanding and consistency. But their persistence and hard work paid off and they ended the season with an undefeated ten-game run which included an impressive nine wins. This exciting sequence of results turned their lower-half table position into a much deserved second-place finish in the top division of their league.
It was a hectic season for the Under-15s, who were chasing silverware on all fronts. In the end they managed to clinch the championship of a very competitive Premier Elite league just three points ahead of Ashford Town, though the Donsí goal difference was superior by 31 goals. Their season came to a climactic finish when, just days after winning the league title, they faced two cup finals in six days. While the first ended in a dramatic extra-time loss to Hampton & Richmond in the Surrey Cup, the Dons showed great character by picking themselves up and winning a tight encounter with Sutton United in the league cup on penalties just five days later.
The success continued with a treble for the Under-14s. Another wonderful league season saw just two defeats and one draw, and they eventually finished top, ahead of some very strong competition, by a comfortable five-point margin. Their cup form over the past two seasons has been flawless, this time culminating in league and Surrey Cup final wins against Sandgate and Brockham Badgers.
It was a truly remarkable and memorable season for the AFC Wimbledon Under-13 side. They achieved the incredible feat of winning every competitive fixture they played. In the Premier Elite league they finished top by a comfortable margin while conceding only six goals all season. Surrey and League Cup success brought them an invitation to compete in the Southern National Championship, where they became the first team from Surrey to win the competition and were rewarded with a trip to Derby Countyís Pride Park for the National Championships. Incredibly, the boys also won this, to become English national champions. They went on to play at the Reebok Stadium, something many of the senior team can only dream of, where they represented their country against the other home nations. They were unfortunate to lose out in penalties to eventual champions Linfield FC from Northern Ireland, who comfortably won the final 5-0. This was a spectacular achievement from a special group of players who we hope will be running out in the league for the Wimbledon first team one day.
The success continued at Under-12 level, with AFC Wimbledon Youth winning a tight Premier Elite championship race on the very last day of the season. Their colleagues in the Colts side of the same age group showed good development and managed some good results in the same top division. Both teams made good progress in the Surrey Cup but ultimately lost out before reaching the latter stages. The Youth side were especially unlucky to lose on penalties after some good results took them into the last 16.
It was a similar story for the Under-11s, who were also very successful, the Youth side taking home the Premier Elite league title after a tense finish to the season which came down to the last set of matches. Like their older peers they cruelly went out of the Surrey Cup on penalties, but they bounced back to defeat Epsom Eagles 3-0 in the league cup final to take home the trophy. The Under-11 Colts have done a fantastic job of supporting the main team and managed a very impressive fourth-place finish in the Premier division. Bizarrely, they didnít draw a game all season, and scored a commendable 50 goals in just 18 league matches.
Many congratulations to all the youth teams for such a tremendous season. Having reinforced the trophy cabinet and enjoyed a well-deserved break we can all look forward to an equally exciting 2010/11.