Rampant Cherries ease into last four of cup
Skipper Christian Saydee led from the front as rampant AFC Bournemouth eased into the semi-final of the EFL Youth Alliance Cup with a convincing win over Plymouth Argyle at Canford Arena.
Saydee plundered a superb hat-trick as Alan Connell’s team warmed up for Wednesday’s eagerly-awaited FA Youth Cup third round clash against Barnet at Vitality Stadium (7pm) with an outstanding all-round performance.
James Oliver chipped in with two while Jack Wadham, Euan Pollock, Luke Pardoe (pictured above) and substitutes Jake Adams and Khavarn Williams were also on target as the Cherries registered their biggest win of the season.
Plymouth, one of only two teams to have beaten the table-topping Cherries in the EFL Youth Alliance this season, returned to Dorset just a week after going down 4-0 at Canford Arena.
Saydee, who had been on the bench for the first team at Tottenham seven days previously, was the only change made by Connell following the midweek win over Exeter in the EFL Youth Alliance.
The Cherries made their intentions clear from the start, fashioning the first chance after five minutes when Ben Greenwood’s low drive was well saved by Plymouth goalkeeper Harry Townsend.
And after the hosts had worked a short-corner to Greenwood, his high cross was met at the far post by Harvey Bertrand, although his header failed to trouble Townsend.
Wadham drew first blood when he seized on the loose ball and finished low past Townsend after Pardoe’s miscued effort had fallen invitingly at his feet in the ninth minute.
And within the space of 120 seconds, the Cherries doubled their lead when Oliver fired past Townsend following good work by Pollock and Wadham.
Saydee headed over from Pardoe’s centre before Plymouth halved the arrears when Ryan Downing latched on to Rubin Wilson’s pass and found the bottom corner.
However, any hopes the visitors harboured of clawing their way back into the tie evaporated when the Cherries netted three times in the space of 11 first-half minutes.
Firstly, Pardoe and Oliver combined to tee up Saydee, the striker’s delightful drag back leaving his marker for dead before he rolled the ball into an unguarded net.
Saydee rifled an unstoppable right-foot shot past Townsend after fastening on to Pollock’s deft pass before the Cherries made it 5-1 in the 30th minute.
The impressive Pardoe was again involved, his assist allowing Pollock to draw Townsend off his line before slipping the ball past the goalkeeper to take his tally for the season into double figures.
Pollock struck the base of the post after getting on the end of Pardoe’s 31st-minute cross before Greenwood fired narrowly past the upright at the start of the second half.
The Pilgrims were caught trying to play out from the back and, after the ball had been worked to Pardoe, he made no mistake and registered a goal his efforts had richly deserved.
Saydee’s rasping 20-yarder forced an excellent save from Townsend before Connell made a triple substitution, bringing on Adams, Williams and Jack Seddon for Wadham, Bertrand and Pollock.
Williams finished emphatically after being played in by Oliver in the 63rd minute before Saydee completed his hat-trick with a finely-taken goal eight minutes from time, his 16th of a productive campaign.
Oliver posted another goal-of-the-game contender when he delicately lifted the ball over Townsend before Adams completed the scoring following a driving run from inside his own half by Williams.
Cherries: Besant, Genesini, Greenwood (Roberts, 60), Wadham (Adams, 57), Channell, Bertrand (Seddon, 57), Pardoe, Gray (Murray, 21), Pollock (Williams, 57), Saydee, Oliver.