Boss Alan Connell hailed the “immense character” of his AFC Bournemouth development squad following their superb victory against Norwich City in the Premier League Cup.
The Cherries leapfrogged the Canaries and climbed to the top of Group C thanks to an eventful 3-2 win at the Lotus Training Centre in East Anglia on Friday.
Goals inside the opening 12 minutes from Dominic Sadi and Nathan Moriah-Welsh gave the visitors the ideal start in their third successive away game in the competition.
But the hosts, an established category one academy, hit back after the break with substitute Joe Duffy’s quickfire double seeing them restore parity midway through the second half.
However, Dan Adu-Adjei’s finely-executed goal 17 minutes from time saw Connell’s team make it nine games unbeaten, the run including eight wins in all competitions.
Connell told afcb.co.uk: “I was very pleased with the result and a lot of aspects of our performance.
“We had watched Norwich and knew they were a very talented team but felt we could exploit some of the spaces they left.
“We did that early on and scored two good goals. It was the perfect start and the boys again showed real energy and intent to win back the ball high up for both goals. There were some nice combinations to finish those chances as well.
“But because of the spaces Norwich left, the game became quite end to end and they started to get some good chances, as did we.
“We tried to tweak a few things at half-time to try to get a little more control but it wasn’t quite possible with how strongly Norwich came out at the start of the second half.
“We were disappointed to concede the two goals and there were things we could have done better.
“But as was the case against Swansea on Tuesday, we showed immense character to go up the other end and score the winner.
“Nathan Moriah-Welsh and Balraj Landa linked really well down the left and Nathan picked out Dan.
“Although he had missed a couple of chances earlier, he’s got a mentality and a believe in himself in front of goal that it doesn’t matter.
“He will always continue to back himself and it was a lovely finish on his left foot to win the game.
“But we still had to be very resolute in our defending and that pleased me as much as anything.
“In the last 15 minutes, we defended a lot of crosses and had to work ever so hard. We saw out the game in a really professional and mature manner.
“I was delighted to come away to a category one team and produce a performance and result like that.”
Victory in the Premier League Cup saw the Cherries follow up a 4-0 win against Charlton and a 0-0 draw with Wolves in the competition.
The unbeaten run has also included five successive wins in the Professional Development League and a 5-0 triumph at Moneyfields in the Hampshire Senior Cup.
Connell’s team visit Havant & Waterlooville in the third round of the county cup on Wednesday before facing QPR in a top-of-the-table clash in the league a week on Monday.
“I’m delighted with the run we’re on,” said Connell. “When we lost at Hull in September, we were still doing lots of things that we liked but there were things we had to improve on.
“We had some honest conversations around that time and the response of the players has been outstanding, both on the training pitch and in matches.
“They are deserving of all the success they are having at the moment.
“But football being football, we know it can change quickly so we’ve got to continue to be humble and hard-working and continue to strive for more every day.
“It’s a pleasing run and long may it continue but there’s a lot of work still to be done.”
Click here to read our match report.
Pictures courtesy of Izzy Poles and Norwich City FC.