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Cherries' win sets up title decider with Plymouth

AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

James Colley

AFC Bournemouth reclaimed top spot in the EFL Youth Alliance and set up a title decider with Plymouth Argyle after triumphing 2-0 against Portsmouth on Tuesday.

Marcus Daws’ first-half penalty and a superbly-crafted goal from Baylin Johnson midway through the second half saw Alan Connell’s team down their south coast rivals at Dorchester Town’s Avenue Stadium.

Victory saw the Cherries draw level on 34 points with the Pilgrims, the teams locking horns in a championship showdown at Canford Park Arena on Saturday (11.30am).

The Cherries, who have a goal difference of plus 17 compared with Plymouth’s plus 13, need to avoid defeat to be crowned champions.

Goalkeeper Noah Crisp was handed his league debut as coach Alan Connell made two changes to his starting line-up following Saturday’s defeat by Oxford.

The 16-year-old, who has trained with England under-16s, was drafted in to replace first-choice Ollie Camis who is on a five-day camp with Wales under-17s.

Skipper Owen Bevan, who missed the Oxford game as he was playing for loan club Truro City, came in for Nathaniel Boot who was named among the Cherries substitutes.

Michael Dacosta Gonzalez fashioned the first shooting chance for the Cherries in the eighth minute, his blistering left-footed effort flashing past the upright.

Crisp gathered safely at his near post after Portsmouth striker Gabriel Kamavuako had met Harry Jewitt-White’s cross with a firm header.

Referee James Colley had no hesitation in pointing to the spot after Lewis Brown had gone to ground under a challenge from Kamavuako in the 35th minute.

And Daws, who netted in the Cherries’ past two league games against Bristol Rovers and Oxford, made no mistake from the spot.

The former Southampton academy midfielder gave Steward no chance, emphatically drilling his spot-kick into the goalkeeper’s bottom right-hand corner.

Daws’ free-kick from 20 yards was charged down by the Portsmouth wall after Dacosta Gonzalez had been upended following a surging run to the edge of the box early in the second half.

Brown’s snapshot was deflected for a corner before an effort from Cherries defender Owen Palmer was ruled out for offside.

Johnson doubled the Cherries’ lead following a superb move down the left involving Noa Boutin and Daws midway through the second half.

Boutin traded pass with Johnson before Daws’ incisive pass spilt the Portsmouth defence and put the winger in on goal.

And he showed tremendous composure to finish from a tight angle, Johnson curling his shot past Steward to register his fifth league goal of the season.

Johnson was denied a quick second when Josh Dockerill charged down his shot following another flowing move involving flying Frenchman Boutin.

AFC Bournemouth: Crisp, Tonks, Boutin, Okoh, Palmer, Bevan, Johnson (Boot, 78), Brown, Adu-Adjei, Dacosta Gonzalez (Williams, 86), Daws. Unused sub: Allan.

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