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Connell - We're gathering momentum


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Alan Connell gave his feedback after Saturday's 2-1 win for the under-18s against Plymouth Argyle.

Marcus Daws and Daniel Adu-Adjei scored for the Cherries to put the hosts in a commanding position against the Pilgrims in their friendly at Canford Arena on Saturday, the away side registering in the very last seconds of the match,

Talking to afcb.co.uk after the game, Connell spoke of his pleasure at the way his young side took on the challenges put down in front of them against competitive opponents.

"We've gathered some momentum in the last few weeks in the performances and the results are a bonus, "he said. "What matters though are the performances.

"I felt it took us a little while to get going against a very strong and well-organised Plymouth side. Once we got the ball moving quickly we started creating more opportunities.

"We scored a lovely first goal through Marcus, making the most of the things that he's been working on, going inside and it was a lovely finish on his left foot.

"Then I'm delighted for Daniel, who we've just signed from Fulham. It was a well-timed run from a good through ball from Lewis Brown and it was a ruthless finish.

"I'm pleased with the two goals and the way we played in the first half. At half time we spoke about a few things, reminded the players about when we played them here in the league earlier in the season.

"Then we were 2-0 up at half time and ended up drawing 2-2, we knew they were going to come out at us and try and respond.

"Plymouth did that, they're a very good side. But I thought we were a threat in the second half as well, should have scored a third and killed the game off, but it didn't fall our way.

"At times we had to defend and I thought we were resolute, we limited them to half chances, though ultimately conceded with the last kick of the game from a corner. That can happen and it's another lesson in these players' development.

"The overall message was about the bravery to play out from the back against an aggressive high press which we got from Plymouth. I thought the boys did that, they didn't always get it right but some of the combinations were excellent.

"It feels like the momentum is gathering for not just the rest of the season but also heading into next season."

The under-18s next Saturday face another friendly, though this time away against a top academy side when they make their way to West Bromwich Albion.

Connell explained: "West Brom are not a side we've played for a number of years but are a category one academy and produce players regularly, it's going to be a tough test, but that's what we want.

"Playing against different teams gives the boys a varied programme and puts different challenges in front of them. We're taking on every challenge and next week will be another tough one."

Young defenders Lewis Brown and Ben Winterburn both impressed Connell with their performances: "I was pleased with both of them, two under-16s who have been with us since they were in the under-11s and are players I've seen come all the way through.

"Being about to get them in full time for next season is something I'm really excited about. They're really dependable, reliable characters who know what we want and have both produced quality performances today."

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