Richard Day reports from Beechings Cross

Mark Patterson’s young Development side, skippered by Joe Carter, were beaten by a strong AFC Wimbledon side at a showery Beechings Cross this afternoon.

After a fairly even opening period in which both teams attempted to play a neat passing game, the first real chance saw a cracking George Humber strike well saved by Venezualan keeper Mikhael Jaimez-Ruiz, once of Dover Athletic.

The Dons, who included six of their seven substitutes from the previous evening’s game at Oxford, took the lead in the 24th minute when a neat Louie Harris pass was excellently flicked past Daren Hawkes by Emmanuel Akokhia from around eight yards.

Humber, Aiden Blanchard (twice) and Aaron Millbank all got in long range efforts for the home side while Khan Williams, Harris and Frankie Merrifield also went close for the Greater London outfit.

Nine minutes into the second-half it was 2-0 to the visitors following another good move, which ended with the overlapping Warren Cumming’s crossing for Charlie Strutton to head home.

AFC Wimbledon dominated early on after the break before the Gills, who made three changes including Jakob Hessenthaler returning to match action for the first time this season, fought back well.

Both teams created other chances, none seriously testing either keeper, before the Gills pulled one back with a fine close range finish.

Gillingham almost levelled matters with the last kick of the game when Ashley Miller set up Frankie Raymond who curled a shot agonisingly wide of Ruiz’s left-hand post.