A stirring second-half comeback, capped by goals from Finn Tonks and Dan Adu-Adjei, saw AFC Bournemouth development squad extend their unbeaten run to 12 games.
The 2-1 victory over Watford at Wimborne’s New Cuthbury saw the Cherries close the gap on Professional Development League leaders QPR to one point with a game in hand.
Watford, under the charge of ex-Cherries star Charlie Daniels, reached the break leading 1-0 thanks to Laken Torres’s goal after nine minutes.
But Tonks restored parity with an emphatic finish on 77 minutes before Adu-Adjei bagged his 14th goal of the season – and his eighth in his past six games – to seal victory eight minutes from time.
Watford winger Michael Adu-Poku required a lengthy spell of treatment after sliding into an advertising hoarding during the early stages.
Watford opened the scoring when Laken Torres turned sharply and beat Cam Plain with a fierce strike into the roof of the net in the ninth minute.
Plain then got down to his left to smother a long-range effort from Jake Watkiss as the Hornets looked to add a quick second.
And as the Cherries went in search of an equaliser, Watford goalkeeper Jonathan Macaulay gathered Michael Dacosta Gonzalez’s 30-yard free-kick in the 19th minute.
The Cherries had an escape when Aidan Coyne fastened on to a clearance to the edge of the box, the midfielder’s volley coming back off the crossbar.
As the first half drew to a close, Dacosta Gonzalez created space for a shot, only to see his effort drift past the upright.
Plain made a fine save to keep out Junior Gyamfi’s rasping drive at the start of the second half, the goalkeeper diving full length to his left to parry.
Macaulay preserved the Hornets’ lead when he made an excellent double save, thwarting both Dom Sadi and Balraj Landa in quick succession in the 62nd minute.
The Watford goalkeeper stood firm to beat away Sadi’s thunderous drive before recovering to prevent Landa converting the rebound.
Sadi’s tenacity led to the Cherries equalising through Tonks in the 77th minute, the midfielder winning back the ball and threading it to Dan Adu-Adjei.
And after the striker had flicked it into the path of Kian Tydeman, the substitute rolled the ball into the path of Tonks who drove low and hard past Macaulay.
Sadi and Tydeman again combined as the Cherries took the lead, the duo trading passes to find Adu-Adjei who made no mistake from close range eight minutes from time.
AFC Bournemouth: Plain, Tonks, Boutin, Wadham, Okoh (Winterburn, 65), Greenwood, Moriah-Welsh, Sadi (Pollock, 87), Adu-Adjei, Dacosta Gonzalez, Landa (Tydeman, 69). Unused subs: Brown, Seeley (g/k).
Booked: Boutin, Moriah-Welsh, Wadham, Sadi.
Watford: Macaulay, Gould (Taylor, 90), Trialist (Eames, 81), Coyne, Mullins, Abbott, Adu-Poku, Davis (Hamiga, 90), Torres, Gyamfi, Watkiss (Holding, 90). Unused sub: Browne (g/k).
Booked: Gyamfi, Gould, Coyne, Abbott, Eames.
Referee: Sam Read.
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