U18s snatch Newport win
Cherries youngsters win away from home to extend unbeaten league run to 13.
AFC Bournemouth Under-18s held onto a slim lead without being at their best to beat Newport County Under-18s 3-1 on Saturday.
Goals from Nathan Clements and Jake Cope gave Bournemouth a decent cushion going into half-time, but Malique Edwards’ second half-strike gave the finale a nervy edge.
Zeno Ibsen Rossi made sure of the win late on to extend the Cherries unbeaten run in the league to 13.
On a wet and windy morning in Wales it was the home side who began the game looking more promising going forward, and despite the Cherries being on the back foot for much of the first half they did manage to create some chances.
Cope cut inside from the left wing and dragged a long-range effort wide on the 23rd minute, while at the other end Cameron Plain was on hand to deny Liam Bishop an opening goal.
With half an hour gone, it was against the balance of play that Clements stretched to get something on the end of Christian Saydee’s effort from outside the box, the former seeing his toe-poke go into the net for 1-0.
Instantly, Bournemouth doubled their lead with a beautiful piece of interplay in the final third. Cope played the ball inside to Saydee, he flicked it back to Cope with a deft back-heel to complete the one-two, as the number seven allowed the ball to bounce before lifting it past the ‘keeper into the left side of the goal.
It had been far from Bournemouth’s best first-half performance, but their clinical finishing took them into the break with a lead two goals strong.
Alan Connell’s side kicked off the second half in lively fashion, Saydee again linking up with Cope, this time the latter seeing his first time shot saved well by Callum Brain. At the other end, Plain was equally crucial to keeping the score down with a tidy reactive save from Bishop’s low strike.
Bishop, Newport’s main danger man throughout, did put the ball in the back of the net with just over half an hour to go but the goal was ruled out for offside. Nevertheless, the momentum was with the home side and it led to something tangible when Edwards, on as a substitute, headed in from a cross to setup a tense final period.
Bournemouth, desperately searching for that all-important third goal, almost had it when Tom Hanfrey saw his free-kick from the right side of the 18-yard box sail just over the crossbar.
With three minutes of normal time remaining, a Tom Dinsmore corner was met by the head of Ibsen Rossi and placed into the top left corner to put the victory beyond any doubt, giving the Cherries another three points on the road.
Following the win, under-18s manager Alan Connell spoke to afcb.co.uk on the following topics.
“It was a difficult game, as was the game against Newport earlier in the season which was in similarly wet and rainy conditions. It was difficult to play how we would like to on the pitch but credit to the boys for sticking to our principles and trying to play our way through.
“Early on, I felt that we didn’t have an outlet in behind the defence. One of the first times we did get in behind we scored and then did it again soon after. Newport came back into it and created some chances but generally we defended quite well, especially around our box.
“Our two centre-backs - Zeno Ibsen Rossi and Brennan Camp - stood up to that test which was pleasing because we’ve done a lot of work on that in training. I was pleased as well for Zeno to score the third goal and seal the win.
“It wasn’t a vintage performance but we had to do the ugly side of the game well in fighting for second balls and defending crosses in heavy conditions. We want to give our players the best possible chance to have careers so they’re going to have to come up against opposition like Newport on pitches like we played on. It’s part of their development and we came away with a deserved victory.”
RYAN GLOVER’S INJURY
“Ryan has unfortunately got to have a knee operation on Tuesday on his anterior cruciate ligament. It's a massive blow for him.
“We want to give him the best possible rehab. He’ll be out for the rest of the season but his long-term health and getting him back to where he needs to be is the most important thing. We’ll give him all the support and help he needs.”
“We play Cheltenham Town Under-18s at home on Saturday and that will be our last game before the Youth Cup the following Wednesday, which will be played at Vitality Stadium. It’s important that we maintain the momentum that we’re building as we’re on a decent run in the league.
“We’re looking forward to the Cheltenham game and looking to put in a good performance ahead of that cup game.”