Cherries impress in Villa win
- Andre Marriner
AFC Bournemouth’s under-18s impressed as they defeated Aston Villa in a friendly on Friday evening.
Alan Connell’s side made the trip to the Midlands to take on the Villans in a warm-up match for the forthcoming FA Youth Cup campaign.
Michael Dacosta Gonzalez opened the scoring in the first half before Daniel Adu-Adjei doubled the advantage.
The home side pulled a goal back late in the game, but the Cherries held on for the win.
Playing under the lights at Villa’s training ground Bodymoor Heath, the home side started the game brightly, Josh Clarke required to deal with a few early half-chances.
However, the first real opportunity of the game fell to Ben Winterburn, who forced a good save from the goalkeeper and Noa Boutin couldn’t apply the finish from the rebound.
On the 20th minute, Dacosta Gonzalez fired the Cherries into the lead with an excellent strike. The Cherries man whipped a free kick over the wall and into the top corner.
Connell’s side were close to making it two when Adu-Adjei applied the finish to Winterburn’s cut-back. However, Andre Marriner, who was officiating the encounter, signalled for an infringement in the box.
There were chances at both ends in an enterprising first-half, Marcus Daws placing a free kick just over the bar before the break.
The Cherries continued to impress in the second half, utilising the counterattack well and almost doubled their lead when Boutin’s cross found Adu-Adjei in the box, but his placed effort went just wide.
The same combination did come up trumps on the hour mark as Boutin’s excellent delivery was headed home by Adu-Adjei from six yards out.
Boutin was causing Villa lots of problems on the left flank and went close to putting his own name on the scoresheet, firing low across goal but the goalkeeper made a fine save.
The home team were a threat throughout the second half as they attempted to get their way back into the match and were rewarded with five minutes left on the clock.
The Cherries lost possession in midfield and a Villa break allowed for a low shot from the right-side of the area to find the bottom corner.
Nonetheless, the Cherries saw out the final minutes to secure the win in a highly entertaining game between two good teams.
After the game, afcb.co.uk caught up with manager Connell to discuss the action.
“We organised the game a few weeks ago, the FA Youth Cup starts in December so we were keen to prepare as best we could for that. When the opportunity came up to play Aston Villa in an evening game at their excellent training ground, it was too good an opportunity to turn down.
“We’re really thankful for Villa for hosting us and I thought it was a really competitive game and a beneficial experience for our players.
“I thought the players attitude to the game was excellent. We came here to try and take the game to one of the best academies in the country and I thought the players did lots of good things.
“We were a threat going forward, we were quite solid defensively. Of course, we had to put our bodies on the line at times with the quality they’ve got but I thought everyone played their part in what was a pleasing performance.
“It gives us confidence moving forward but what really pleases me is that I think we can play even better than we did tonight. We played some incisive stuff at times, but we were also a little bit loose as well, which could have cost us on another night.
“It excites me that there’s still room for improvement with this group and that’s what we’ll be aiming to do: keep improving and keep building on the recent good work the players have put in.
“It’s hard to single out any individual performances from the game as there were a number of outstanding displays. It’s important that we regroup on Monday – they’ve got the weekend off which they thoroughly deserve – and we look to keep building. “