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U18s suffer narrow Youth Cup defeat

AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Attendance:
648

AFC Bournemouth's under-18s were defeated 3-2 at Vitality Stadium to Millwall to end their FA Youth Cup hopes.

Sean O'Brien's early goal gave the visitors the lead before their advantage was doubled through Abdul Abdulmalik just after half-time. 

Euan Pollock then pulled one back for Alan Connell's side, with Khavarn Williams then drawing it level with 20 minutes to go. 

Chances came for either side, but Millwall substitute Tyrese Briscoe made the difference, netting from inside the area to give his side the win. 

Connell had Luke Pardoe return from suspension for the game after he was shown a red card in the last round against Cardiff. 

Additionally, Nathan Moriah-Welsh was back in the starting line-up following a lengthy spell on the sidelines. 

It was a dramatic start to the game, with referee Dale Wootton pointing to the spot within the opening 60 seconds, Nana Boating being brought down on the left. 

O'Brien stepped up confidently, but saw his shot superbly saved by Cherries goalkeeper Cameron Plain, who dived low to his right to palm away. 

Despite initially being denied, O'Brien made amends just five minutes later as he lashed home an effort from 20 yards that Plain could do nothing about, giving his side the lead within the opening stages of the game. 

The midfielder almost had a second after his low free-kick was on target, but straight at the Cherries shot-stopper, causing him no problems at all. 

It was then the hosts who threatened, Pardoe curling an effort towards Leighton Fanshaw's right, with only a diving header from Alex Mitchell stopping its route to goal. 

Moments later, Ben Greenwood tried his luck from 25 yards, bending his free-kick wide of the post after Moriah-Welsh had been brought down. 

Millwall were soon to create problems of their own, a point-black save from Plain gaining huge cheers from the crowd as it prevented Oliver Bate from netting a loose ball from a corner. 

The young goalkeeper was again called into action, this time his heroics denying O'Brien a second after the ball fell kindly for him on the penalty mark. 

Before the half was out, there was time for James Oliver to test Fanshawe after Pardoe had played it through, but the goalkeeper stood tall and held the shot well. 

After the interval, Moriah-Welsh thought he was through one-on-one following a superb through ball by Luke Gray, only to look up and see the flag raised for offside. 

It didn't take long for Millwall to find themselves in a similar position, but this time Abdulmalik held his line to race through on goal, then dinking his shot over Plain's foot to double his side's lead with two minutes gone of the half. 

The Cherries' spirit didn't break though and some good build-up play from Williams and Pollock almost lead to Pardoe finding the net, but Mitchell reacted to clear off the line. 

Up the other end of the pitch, Plain again kept the score down as Bate had squared for Boating, who was waiting to smash his shot into the top corner, only for the 'keeper to deny him with another wonderful save from close range. 

His efforts at one end were to be rewarded at the other and Connell's side were given a lifeline after Pollock reacted quickest to a loose ball in the box, finishing coolly to reduce the deficit. 

The Cherries were buoyed and the game had barely restarted before the ball was in the Millwall net for the second time in as many minutes. 

Pardoe did superbly down the right and beat his man with ease, going on to pick out Williams in the middle, the striker making no mistake from six yards. 

With extra-time looming, Ben Greenwood was forced to clear off the line for the hosts as Mitchell almost headed home a winner from a corner. 

Nevertheless, the all-important goal was to come and it was Millwall who got it, Briscoe playing a neat one-two with Bate before finishing into the corner from inside the box. 

One more chance was to fall the way of the Cherries, as Pardoe received it from substitute Jake Adams and tested Fanshawe for a final time, but the 'keeper was alert and saved to avert the danger.  

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