U18s gain Grecians revenge
The under-18s recorded a strong 2-1 win over Exeter City in the Youth Alliance on Saturday, getting a measure of revenge against the Grecians.
Bournemouth had been beaten by Exeter in the FA Youth Cup earlier this season, and also lost having held a 2-0 half-time lead last month in the league - though were resolute in confirming their win this time around.
The Cherries took the lead midway through the first half when Jake Adams switched the play to Marcus Daws who drifted inside and curled the ball into the far corner with his right foot.
Matt Burgess netted a second before half time when he opened up from 25 yards with a strike low into the bottom corner.
After the restart Exeter scored early, putting the Cherries on the back foot and into a defensive effort, though the home side were able to break with quality and Adams had two chances with the City 'keeper saving on both occasions.
Ajani Burchall also had two openings of his own, with Burgess then forcing another save after a powerful forward run.
Home 'keeper Billy Terrell was forced off with a head injury 15 minutes from time, under-16s player Ollie Camis coming on in his place, Bournemouth showing resilience and maturity to see the game and their win out.
After the match, manager Alan Connell offered his reaction to the match to afcb.co.uk, played at Dorchester Town's Avenue Stadium to ensure it was able to go ahead after the recent wintry conditions.
"We switched the game because of the freezing conditions during the week," said Connell. "At Dorchester it's a lovely surface and a really nice stadium and that gave the boys that first-team feel about the match, making it a great experience for both sets of players.
"In the game itself, we started really well in the first half, passed the ball well and had a good rhythm in our play.
"We created some good openings and I felt in the first half Exeter struggled to get near us with the way we moved the ball. I was then also delighted with the two goals from Marcus and Matt.
"At half time we spoke about being 2-0 up against Exeter earlier in the season and letting the lead slip, and especially when Exeter scored early in the second half it was almost deja vu for what had happened at their place.
"It was a real test of our mental strength and our togetherness - and I was really interested to see our response.
"The boys dug in deep to defend balls into our box for large spells, while still showing quality and bravery to take the ball and create good opportunities going forwards.
"It was a really good day. In the past I've spoken to them about learning lessons from things that haven't gone well but today I thought we saw the game out in a professional way and I saw a group of players who had learned from previous defeats.
"Our job in youth development is to get these players ready for the next step and it was really nice to see the players show that maturity in their performances today."
With Jack Wadham out injured, Connell spoke in praise of stand-in skipper Aaron Roberts and his strong showing in the win.
He said: "Aaron's a versatile player who hadn't played in the centre of midfield for us for quite a while but he did today and I thought he was outstanding. He broke up play, read situations very well and he got on the ball and, as he always does, got out of tight situations.
"He's a very intelligent footballer and he lead by example today - both when we were on top and when we had to dig deep he was a real leader out there and his ever-growing maturity."