Pollock at the double as Cherries hit the century
Euan Pollock bagged AFC Bournemouth’s 100th goal of the season as they opened their Merit League One campaign with a hard-earned 3-2 win over Stevenage today.
Striker Pollock took his personal tally for Alan Connell’s under-18s to 17 by netting twice while Jake Adams was also on target against Boro at a wind-swept Canford Arena.
The visitors set up a grandstand finish thanks to late goals from Yasin Arai and Jack Moriarty with both teams deserving praise for serving up an exciting contest in dreadful conditions.
Boss Connell told afcb.co.uk: “I was really pleased with the performance in difficult conditions.
“I thought some of our passing was quick and incisive and, as a result, we created chances. I was pleased we scored three nice goals and, as always, there were probably more to be had.
“The attitude of the boys was excellent and, in the end, it was a deserved victory. The gloss was taken off slightly by conceding the two goals but credit to Stevenage for that because they kept going.
“It was a positive performance but there are lessons to be learned with regards to seeing out games and being concentrated for 95 minutes.”
And on the 100-goal milestone, Connell added: “We have scored a lot of goals this season which is great credit to the boys. It was a good finish by Euan.
“We put a lot of work into our attacking play and have been clinical at times this season.
“Defensively, I have been quite pleased overall but recently we have probably been a little too open.
“There is still lots to work on every day and that’s the message the boys will continue to be given.”
Pollock drew first blood when he converted Brooklyn Genesini’s low cross with an adept first-time finish, beating Boro goalkeeper Timmy Smith at his near post.
Billy Terrell made a couple of solid saves either side of the Cherries taking the lead in the 17th minute, their advantage doubled ten minutes before the interval.
At full stretch, Smith could only parry Nathan Moriah-Welsh’s 20-yard piledriver with Adams seizing on the loose ball and clipping it home with another assured finish.
Terrell turned Arai’s fierce strike around the post early in the second half before Moriarty fired narrowly over the crossbar after dispossessing Moriah-Welsh.
Pollock rifled home his second and the Cherries’ third following the move of the match, started by some sublime skills from substitute Luke Pardoe.
His dazzling footwork saw him shake off the attentions of two Boro players before he traded passes with Ben Greenwood and then provided the assist for Pollock to score.
Arai latched on to Genesini’s errant pass to make it 3-1 in the 82nd minute before Moriarty’s long-range effort flicked off Harvey Bertrand’s head and dipped over the luckless Terrell in added time.
New recruit Ferdinand Okoh came off the bench to replace Adams in the 79th minute – having just played the first half of the under-16s’ match against QPR.
The 15-year-old Nigerian midfielder, who was previously on the books of West Ham and Tottenham, has been offered a two-year scholarship after impressing club staff during a trial.
Connell said: “We are really excited to be working with him and we think he fits what we want. He will join us at the start of July and we will get him in when we can between now and the end of the season.”
AFC Bournemouth under-17s host their Fulham counterparts at Canford Arena on Tuesday.
Cherries: Terrell, Genesini, Greenwood, Gray (Burgess, 68), Seddon (Roberts, 79), Bertrand, Adams (Okoh, 79), Moriah-Welsh, Pollock, Williams (Pardoe, 60). Oliver (Gidaree, 84).