THE Dons kicked off their pre-season campaign with a narrow defeat to Conference side Dagenham & Redbridge, but acquitted themselves well against much higher-ranked opponents.
Both teams used lots of players and the afternoon was less about the result than the performance. Several of the new faces showed plenty of promise, while returning campaigners made it clear there will be a real fight for places in next season's first team squad.
Andy Sullivan unfortunately pulled a muscle early on, and was forced to limp off to be replaced by Lee Sidwell, as the Dons battled hard in the early exchanges.
Hakin had a shot deflected wide and Midson forced a good block from Naisbitt, before arguably the Dons' best chance fell to Jon-Barrie Bates, sending a diving header at the keeper from a Sidwell cross after good work by Jamie Taylor.
Wholesale changes in the second-half saw the Dons slightly less composed at the back. The only goal of the game came as a chipped ball caught Dobinson and Gray ball watching and the resultant cross was headed home at the far post by an unmarked Mackail-Smith.
Naisbitt produced two excellent saves to deny a Taylor header and a Midson drive and saw a header from a corner cannon off the bar, before being replaced by Paul Smith.
Billy Sentence and Mark Williams struggled to see much of the ball, but linked up well on occasion, and Seb Favata and Jones Bamfo marauded well from midfield. Favata collected an Oakins through ball, but was edged wide before curling a shot at the keeper.
Overall, the team kept its shape well as each half wore on and there were many positives to take from the performance. Naisbitt looked impressive, Michael Woolner had an excellent game at right-back, especially considering he has been out of football for a year, Everard and Howard looked particularly solid, Graham showed he has lost a lot of weight and is fitter than he has ever been in a Dons shirt, Sheerin and Taylor linked up well, with Taylor in particular looking sharp, Favata battled as hard as ever and Jones Bamfo terrorised a tiring defence with his pace and quick feet.
Dons - first half [shirt numbers in brackets]:
Danny Naisbitt ; Paul Quinn , Anthony Howard , Matt Everard , Michael Woolner ; Chris Head , Jon-Barrie Bates , Gareth Graham , Andy Sullivan  - replaced on 4 mins by Lee Sidwell ; Joe Sheerin  (capt), Jamie Taylor .
Dons - second half [shirt numbers in brackets]:
Danny Naisbitt  replaced by Paul Smith  on 65 mins; Darren Dobinson , Danny Oakins  Roger Joseph  (capt), Steve Gibson ; Ryan Gray , Chris Gell , Seb Favata , Lee Sidwell  replaced by Jones Bamfo  on 65 mins; Mark Williams , Billy Sentence .