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Cherries win at Pompey in Central League Cup

AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

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AFC Bournemouth kick-started their defence of the Central League Cup with a 2-1 win over Portsmouth at Bognor Regis’ Nyewood Lane.

AFC Bournemouth kick-started their defence of the Central League Cup with a 2-1 win over Portsmouth at Bognor Regis’ Nyewood Lane.

Jaidon Anthony’s double fired the Cherries into a two-goal lead, before a strike from Brad Lethbridge reduced his side’s deficit to make for a tense final ten minutes.

Shaun Cooper named a young side for the clash along the south coast, with Will Dennis starting in goal and Jake Scrimshaw leading the line up front.

The first chance of the game fell to Alex Dobre, who drove a low shot goalwards with just five minutes on the clock, Petar Durin diving well to claim the ball.

After a brief delay following a head injury to skipper Corey Jordan, the Cherries combined well again, this time Scrimshaw playing in Ryan Glover, whose first-time effort was parried by the Pompey shot-stopper.

Jordan then almost gave his side the lead, after a superb dead-ball delivery from Tom Dinsmore nearly found him at the back post, the defender not quite making contact with the cross.

It was the hosts that then threatened after some good work from Josh Flint winning the ball back in the middle of the park. Having found Eoin Teggart, he slipped in Alfie Stanley who was in one-on-one, but the low shot was pulled wide and the danger averted.

In an end-to-end affair, Cooper’s side were back on the attack after some strong play on the right. Gillela combined well with Scrimshaw, who could only smash his right-footed shot off the post from 15 yards.

Scrimshaw was then involved again, Luke Nippard’s ball releasing him into the box, before Matt Casey did well to come across and cover.

With 30 minutes on the clock, Portsmouth had their best chance of the half as Teggart got away on the left and whipped a delightful ball across goal for Brook, who couldn’t quite get the touch needed to poke home two yards out.

Chances for each side followed as the first period neared its end, Lethbridge forcing Dennis to save from range, before a shot from Dobre in a similar area was deflected away off the towering Casey.

There was still time for one more chance in the first half, as the Cherries gave it away cheaply at the back. The ball fell to Lethbridge on the penalty spot and it looked a certain goal, but there was Dennis who dived to his right and got fingertips to it to guide it round the post.

After the restart, the Cherries came out firing and took the lead within two minutes.

Anthony grabbed his first of the afternoon after early Bournemouth pressure, the ball falling to him in the box as he coolly back-heeled it into the net.

The striker only had to wait two minutes before he bagged his and his side’s second. This time, he timed his run to perfection and latched on to a deft through ball, before emphatically finishing into the top corner, giving Durin little chance.

The hosts looked for a reply and won a free-kick in a dangerous position, but Dennis was equal to Harry Kavanagh shot and saved well.

Despite the two-goal cushion, Cooper’s side continued the pressure, firstly Dobre fired over from Jordan Zemura’s ball, before Ethan Robb blocked an effort from second half substitute Tyrell Hamilton.

The Cherries soon thought they had a third, as Durin saved Hamilton’s effort and spilled it into Scrimshaw’s path, but the finish from the 19 year old was ruled out after he was alleged to have fouled the ‘keeper.

With 15 minutes to go and against the run of play, Portsmouth pulled one back. Lethbridge, who had threatened from the outset, finally saw his effort get the better of Dennis, firing the ball home from close range after a good low cross from Kavanagh.

It wasn’t long before the duo down the right nearly combined for the hosts again. This time it was Kavanagh’s corner that Lethbridge nearly got on the end of, but his effort went high and wide of the goal.

Consistent pressure from Pompey in the dying stages nearly paid off as Lethbridge was involved yet again, playing in Alfie Stanley but the first-time effort wasn’t directed on target and the game ended in a 2-1 scoreline to the Cherries.

Cooper’s side will now go on to face both Plymouth Argyle and Bristol Rovers in the remaining two group games of this year’s Central League Cup. The top two teams will progress to the knockout stages.

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