Lovely feeling to see Nathan score says Connell
Coach Alan Connell expressed delight for inspirational skipper Nathan Moriah-Welsh following AFC Bournemouth’s 2-0 win over Merit League One rivals Oxford United today.
Midfield dynamo Moriah-Welsh led from the front at Canford Park Arena and netted his first goal since returning from a six-month injury layoff.
The 17-year-old, who sustained ligament and hamstring damage during a friendly against Reading in August, sealed victory after Jake Adams had given the Cherries the lead.
Adams and Moriah-Welsh scored within the space of three second-half minutes as Connell’s team maintained their unbeaten record in the Merit League.
Connell told afcb.co.uk: “I was so pleased for Nathan because he is desperate to do well.
“He has grown up a lot in the two years he has been with us and to see him score was a lovely feeling for everyone connected with him.
“You could see how much it meant to him with his celebration. He does a lot of extra work and always wants to work on his finishing.
“It’s always great to see things come off for players in big games when they put in so much in training.”
Connell felt a top-drawer save from goalkeeper Billy Terrell, who parried Callum Crook’s header from point-blank range with the score at 0-0, had been a key moment in the contest.
“Oxford came out really well at the start of the second half and put us under pressure,” said Connell.
“Billy made a great save to keep it at 0-0 and he’s a player we’re really pleased with at the moment.
“It was a big save and it probably swung the momentum in our favour.”
Chances were at a premium in the first half and Euan Pollock went closest to breaking the deadlock when his header from a Moriah-Welsh cross hit the post in the 38th minute.
And after the striker had quickly seized on the rebound, his follow-up effort was scooped away by Oxford goalkeeper Damian Niemczycki.
Terrell’s stunning save came after 54 minutes before Niemczycki dived full length to tip Pollock’s blistering strike over the crossbar 14 minutes later.
Adams swept home his sixth goal of the season after fastening on to a crossfield pass from Luke Gray before Moriah-Welsh rifled an unstoppable drive past Niemczycki following good build-up play involving Pollock and Khavarn Williams.
Connell added: “It was a hard-fought win and games against Oxford are always very competitive. There was very little in it until we scored the first goal.
“There were a couple of chances at both ends in the first half but I felt we were too loose in possession and there were too many unforced errors.
“The way we play means we invite pressure and that’s the demands on our players. They have to be technically good enough to handle the ball and play out under pressure.
“We didn’t quite get that right in the first half although we probably had the best chance with Euan’s header which came from a good move where we played out really well.
“The message at half-time was can we be a little better on the ball? We emphasised that our best chance had come from playing out well under pressure.
“The first goal came from us playing out well. Jake came in at the back post and scored with a nice finish from Luke’s cutback. It was a really nice team goal and was really satisfying to see that come off.
“From that moment on, I thought the boys were very professional and maybe the confidence from the goal meant our passing was crisper.”
Cherries: Terrell, Genesini, Roberts, Gray, Seddon, Gidaree, Adams, Moriah-Welsh, Pollock, Williams (Coddington, 79), Burgess (Okoh, 84). Unused subs: Palmer, Bevan, Besant (g/k).