Second half U18s blitz beats Exeter
Five second half goals powered the AFC Bournemouth under-18s to their first win of the season as they won 5-1 away at Exeter City on Friday afternoon.
Hunting a first success after their goalless opener with Cheltenham, the side were again 0-0 at the break in Devon, the Cherries controlling possession with a couple of chances going untaken for each side - Owen Palmer clearing off the line for Alan Connell's side.
The intensity raised for the away side after the break and Daniel Adu-Adjei soon pounced on a loose ball to give Bournemouth the lead.
Palmer's free-kick was then headed home brilliantly at the back post by Michael Dacosta Gonzalez, a third Cherries goal coming when substitute Finn Tonks crossed low and under pressure from Baylin Johnson the Grecians full-back put past his own goalkeeper.
The hosts pulled one back before Bournemouth struck twice more. Owen Bevan first rose highest to head Palmer's corner home before Johnson whipped a fine strike into the top corner to wrap up the scoring and a positive 45 minutes.
Speaking to afcb.co.uk after the match, Connell contrasted the two halves and the improvements that were needed.
"We had a strong squad available but in the first half our passing wasn't as crisp as I would have liked," he said. "We didn't get anywhere near where we should be without the ball, we looked a bit flat.
"We had to address a couple of things at half time, mainly the intensity and our ball speed to quicken the game up - and from the first whistle in the second half we had that.
"It was much improved and I thought we created numerous chances and that resulted in us finding our killer instinct with our five goals.
"It was a good lesson for us to know that if we're off it a little bit, our performance levels drop quite a lot.
"I was pleased with our second-half performance, it's something to build on but we've got a lot of work to do on the training pitch which I'm looking forward to next week and moving forwards."
Josh Clarke was in goal for the first time their season after overcoming an injury, the 'keeper soon set to join the Republic of Ireland squad on international duty.
Elsewhere, Ferdinand Okoh played his second 90 minutes of the week after turning out for the under-21s at National League side Torquay United in midweek.
Connell also spoke on defender Palmer, a player who has already stepped up to take added responsibility for the side early in the new campaign.
"He's a very mature boy with a great attitude and he's a very intelligent footballer," said the manager of the full-back. "He showed that with a block on the line and also with knowing when to quicken the game up and when to slow it down.
"He's put himself forwards for set pieces this year and he's got a couple on the money in this game for Michael and Owen's goals. I'm pleased with him but he and all of us need to keep improving if we're going to have a successful season."