U18s fire back to draw U's thriller
The under-18s lost a two-goal advantage before striking back at the last to draw 3-3 with Oxford United at Canford Arena on Saturday.
Ollie Camis made a routine low save after a mix-up playing out early on, before on the half-hour mark a brilliant inswinging Marcus Daws free-kick from out wide eluded everyone and found the back of the net.
Seven minutes later the hosts had a second when Ferdinand Okoh won the ball in midfield, finding Noa Boutin who played a one-two with Daws. Boutin's great cross was then met on the volley from 15 yards out by Ben Winterburn to complete an excellent team goal.
After the restart, Oxford soon scored after a cutback was converted into the far corner. Daniel Adu-Adjei soon slipped a chance just wide of the far post after being played in by Daws as the Cherries looked reassert their two-goal advantage.
However, it was instead all square at 2-2 after a ball from the right was finished by the opposite winger at the far post.
Bournemouth regained control and looked for a winner but were hit by a sucker punch with five minutes to go when a free-kick forced an own goal as United took their first lead of the game.
Later still, the Cherries probed for a leveller and didn't panic, and from a moment of quality from Winterburn the ball was played to Michael Dacosta Gonzalez and he came inside onto his left foot and rifled a shot into the bottom corner from 25 yards.
There was still time for the home side to push further for a dramatic winner, ultimately unable to claim it as an absorbing game finished tied.
After the match, manager Alan Connell spoke to afcb.co.uk about a rollercoaster match: "Like our Portsmouth game last week where it was a great day for the players' development, today was another one of those days.
"We were against a very strong, physical and well-organised Oxford side who always pose a threat.
"I was delighted with the first-half performance, albeit we started a little slowly. Once we'd got control I thought we were clean in our passing and controlled the ball for large spells without really having a massive cutting edge.
"We scored the two goals before half time and that was a big lift for the boys. We came in at half time pleased that we'd stood up to the physical battle.
"We knew Oxford would come at us in the second half and I thought we were ready for that. When you go 3-2 down in those circumstances quite often you'd think it must have been a disappointing performance in the second half but I didn't think it was.
"We still had good possession, created good openings, stuck to our philosophies and competed well off the ball. The thing that probably caught us with the three goals were individual errors, which can happen at any level.
"The response from the players was admirable I felt in that we didn't panic. We kept playing and sticking to our beliefs and Michael's then produced another moment of magic like he did last week to score the equaliser and that was deserved.
"There were mixed emotions for the players and myself after the game because when you're 2-0 up you expect to win the game but then after going 3-2 down I was very proud of the way the players conducted themselves and came back in the game to get the equaliser - and we could even have got a winner.
"It was an absorbing contest and I firmly believe it was a step in the right direction for us, albeit there were big lessons for us to learn in the game."
Connell spoke about the individual performance of Winterburn in midfield and his added threat in front of goal.
He said: "He wants to score more goals and he's now scored against Watford and Oxford. It was a typical midfielder's late run into the box and it was an unbelievable finish for his goal.
"He then set up the equaliser with a crossfield pass, I thought he showed intelligence with his positioning, showed composure in his play and what he's undoubtedly very good at is his work out of possession.
"He works extremely hard and wins the ball back for his team-mates. I thought today was him at his best and I'm looking forward to working with him further and him continuing his development."