TRIALIST Jay O’Shea did his chances of earning a contract no harm after he was again on the scoresheet, this time in Dons’ 2-1 victory over Bangor Celtic on Monday night.
O’Shea, who also scored in Dons’ 4-1 win over St Neots 10 days ago, opened the scoring early in the second half, before Mathias Doumbe added a second 15 minutes from time.
Bangor made sure it wasn’t an easy finish though with a stunning consolation goal, but Dons did enough to hold on for a 2-1 win.
Dons boss Karl Robinson named a young squad for the first half of Dons’ opening game on their Irish trip, weary that a bigger test lay 24 hours later against League of Ireland Premier Division strugglers Drogheda United.
And four trialists made the starting line-up, with centre back Carl Magnay, full-back John Dunleavy and goalkeeper Ian McLoughlin joining O’Shea in their bids to impress Robinson.
With Irishman Shaun Williams dictating the pace on home soil, Dons dominated the midfield battle and looked to pounce on Celtic’s sloppy passing.
Daniel Powell, O’Shea and Williams all spurned good chances in the first half, while Jabo Ibehre and Lewis Guy also came close to opening the scoring, but Dons had to settle with 0-0 at the interval.
But as was so often the case last season, Dons burst out of the box in the second half and it took just two minutes to take the lead. O’Shea was hacked down in the Bangor penalty area and stepped up to smash the resultant penalty kick into the net for 1-0.
Robinson made a host of changes, handing Dean Bowditch his first run-out in a Dons shirt, with Sam Baldock, Mathias Doumbe, Gary MacKenzie, Darren Potter, Stephen Gleeson, Dean Lewington and Luke Chadwick all getting 35 minutes.
With Celtic tiring, the more experienced Dons stars began to put real pressure on the home side, but it wasn’t until 15 minutes from the end that they doubled their lead.
Baldock fired a vicious free-kick on goal, but it came back off the base of the post, and Doumbe was the first to react, turning the ball home.
Bowditch could have put the result beyond doubt when he was set free on goal, but Celtic’s keeper made a terrific save at close range.
The home side would have the last say though when Celtic’s centre-back was found through on goal, and after taking a touch, volleyed into the top corner, bringing the scoring to an end at 2-1.
Dons now visit Drogheda United on Tuesday night before returning to the UK on Thursday, with the pre-season action then starting to come thick and fast with a trip to Oxford on Saturday and home game against Premier League Tottenham the following Tuesday.