Forest felled by Dobre's winner
- Adrian Quelch
AFC Bournemouth kicked off their Premier League Cup campaign with a 1-0 home victory over Nottingham Forest at Vitality Stadium today.
Alex Dobre’s impressive first-half strike was enough to settle the Group E tie and get the Cherries’ campaign off to the perfect start.
It was far from plain sailing for the hosts, however, as Forest missed an early penalty and converted plenty of second-half pressure into a number of good chances.
But Shaun Cooper’s side held firm and were indebted to Ireland international goalkeeper Mark Travers for a number of outstanding second-half stops.
The Cherries also had the opportunity to put the result out of reach late on with a penalty of their own but Jake Scrimshaw saw his spot-kick saved.
A healthy crowd of almost 800 – including first-team manager Eddie Howe and his squad – turned out to watch Bournemouth’s youngsters in action.
The opening exchanges were end-to-end with chances for both sides, and it was Forest who could, and should, have broken the deadlock with less than seven minutes on the clock.
Captain Corey Jordan was adjudged to have fouled Alex Mighten inside the area, but Zach Clough blazed the resulting penalty high and wide.
Midfielder Brennan Johnson then curled a 25-yard free-kick over the bar for the visitors before, at the other end, Jaidon Anthony had the ball in the back of the net, only to see his close range effort ruled out by an offside flag.
On his previous Vitality Stadium appearance – in the Hampshire Senior Cup tie against Basingstoke – Gavin Kilkenny scored a hat-trick, with each of his goals coming from outside the box.
And the Ireland Under-21 international clearly fancied another long-ranger when he drilled narrowly off-target in the 25th minute.
The scoring was finally opened on 36 minutes through Dobre. A well-worked short corner found its way to the Romanian winger on the edge of the area and he shifted the ball onto his left foot before sending a low strike into the bottom corner.
Going behind sparked Forest into life and either side of half-time Travers was forced into action, saving Yassine En-Neyah’s header and Mighten’s angled shot.
The ‘keeper then produced two brilliant saves in as many minutes to deny Clough.
The former Bolton man’s rising drive looked destined for the top corner until the intervention of Travers’ fingertips, before he then flew full-length to his right to block another goal-bound effort.
With time ticking away in the second period, Forest threw caution to the wind and Johnson twice threatened.
But that left gaps at the other end for the Cherries to exploit. In the 77th minute a fine save from visiting goalkeeper Marios Siampanis kept out Anthony’s curling free-kick.
And when Jordan Zemura was bundled over in the penalty area with two minutes remaining, Siampanis managed to parry Scrimshaw’s spot-kick to safety.
Bournemouth were not left to rue that miss, however, as they held on for all three points.