The Dons suffered another pre-season reverse today with a second-half Frederic Piquionne hat-trick earning victory for the visitors.
In front of a crowd of 1,067, a first-half full of promise from Terry Brown's men earned a 2-0 half-time lead, thanks to two clinical strikes from Luke Moore. However, it was all change after the break with that man Piquionne proving too hot to handle and the Dons boss was left with plenty to think about ahead of the new season. Terry Brown selected a strong starting 11 for the visit of a West Ham development side with just 10 days until our competitive opener against Stevenage in the Capital One Cup. Terry Brown made three changes from the side that started against Preston with Charlie Strutton, Brendan Kiernan and Steve Collis replacing Jack Midson, Christian Jolley and Seb Brown respectively.
The hosts made a strong start with Strutton determined to prove his worth in a Dons shirt. It was the former Chalfont St Peter striker who came closest to scoring in the opening exchanges when he got behind the West Ham defence, but Jack Larkins got down well to save. At the other end, Jordan Spence clipped the crossbar with a speculative effort, but the Dons continued to show promise in their attacking moves. Strutton had been at the heart of the home side’s bright start and it was no surprise when he set-up the opener in the 13th minute with a header down for Luke Moore, who fired home emphatically. However, a youthful Hammers side, led by their most experienced player Freddie Piquionne, created a couple of good chances of their own. First, Collis did his chances of staying with the Dons no harm by flying to his right to keep out a header from Rob Hall and then he made an equally good save to deny Piquionne.
Wimbledon continued to create promising attacking situations and Luke Moore was stopped from going clean through by a foul on the edge of the area by Bilel Moshni. Kiernan curled an excellent 20-yard effort towards the bottom corner from the subsequent free-kick, but Larkins got down well to save. Sammy Moore then also tested Larkins with a shot from distance, but the best was still to come from the Dons when they doubled their advantage in the 36th minute. It was that man Luke Moore who showed his goalscoring prowess once again when he finished clinically over Larkins after substitute Jim Fenlon put him through with a fine defence-splitting ball. The Dons had produced perhaps their best 45 minutes of pre-season and they finished the first-half by almost making it three when Strutton showed the West Ham defence a clean pair of heels, but he was again denied by Larkins.
The visitors halved the deficit though just three minutes into the second-half when Piquionne showed his old class by cutting inside from the left and beating Collis at his near post with a fierce drive. Stacy Long came tantalisingly close to restoring the home side’s two goal advantage when he produced an audacious 25-yard curler that struck the inside of a post.
West Ham drew level when the referee awarded the visitors a penalty and Piquionne made no mistake from 12 yards. There was even better to come though from Piquionne as he showed just why he has scored goals in the Premier League by finishing superbly from 20 yards out to seal a hat-trick in less than 10 minutes. The hosts struggled to recapture the flowing football that was such a feature of their first-half performance after those setbacks. But only a fine point-blank save from Larkins stopped the Dons drawing level when Jolley’s cross from the left was met by a diving header from Kiernan, but the West Ham goalkeeper was equal to the effort. It was effectively all over 13 minutes from time when Blair Turgott scored with a fine solo effort.
AFC Wimbledon: Steve Collis (Seb Brown), Curtis Osano (Jim Fenlon), Warren Cummings, Louis Harris (Christian Jolley), Pim Balkestein (Mat Mitchel-King), Angus MacDonald, Stacy Long, Sammy Moore (Dan Sweeney), Charlie Strutton (Jack Midson), Brendan Kiernan (Will Bor), Luke Moore (Frankie Merrifield).