Jubilant Alan Connell expressed his delight at seeing AFC Bournemouth progress in the FA Youth Cup – just days after he had become a father for the first time.
The Cherries’ young guns last night registered a convincing 3-0 win over Oxford United to book a place in the fifth round for only the second time in the club’s history.
Jake Scrimshaw’s clinical hat-trick – which took to 10 his goal tally in four games against the U’s this season – set up a meeting with Aston Villa at Vitality Stadium in the last 16.
The victory gave under-18 coach Connell an added reason to celebrate after his partner Becki gave birth to their daughter Dulcie Sue just after Christmas.
Connell told afcbTV: “It’s been a lovely few days and Dulcie and Becki are both doing well.
“It’s been difficult in a way as well because you want to enjoy that special moment, that family time but you also have a big game to prepare for.
“It’s been about trying to get the balance and, hopefully, I’ve got it right!
“It’s been an amazing feeling and quite an emotional time so I’m really pleased and couldn’t be happier.”
Assessing the display at Oxford City’s Court Farm Place, Connell said: “I thought it was very professional. I was really pleased with the maturity we showed on and off the ball.
“After we had taken the lead, I thought we managed the game really well, kept passing the ball and kept playing out from the back and we took the sting out of Oxford by doing that.
“I was proud that the boys got to the next stage against a good Oxford side. But what pleased me most was that we stuck to our principles and played the way we want them to. That enabled us to get our rewards and progress to the next round.
“Hopefully, we can get a big crowd to the Vitality Stadium. Aston Villa beat Reading quite comprehensively on Monday so it will be a big game.
“It will be difficult because they are category one opposition so we will go into it as underdogs. But the belief I have in the players is huge and I expect us to give them a good game.”
Defender Brennan Camp also spoke to afcbTV after becoming only the second captain in the club’s history to lead a team into the fifth round, matching the class of 1968-69.
He said: “It’s always a privilege leading the boys on to pitch. They always give 100 per cent and I thought we controlled the game.
“Aston Villa in the next round should be a good occasion and, hopefully, a lot of fans will come. We deserved it and have worked hard for it.
“A few of us watched their game on Monday and they look a very good team so it’s going to be a good test.
“It was nice to get one back on Oxford because they won the league. I thought we were thoroughly deserved winners and showed our quality.”
And hat-trick hero Scrimshaw had the last word when he told afcTV: “It was great to score but reaching the next round was the most important thing.
“The whole team worked their hardest and gave everything. It was a great performance from everyone and you couldn’t single out anyone.”
Revised fifth-round draw (ties to be played by 9th February): Preston or Norwich v Peterborough or Bury, AFC Bournemouth v Aston Villa, Arsenal or Tottenham v WBA or QPR, Everton v Manchester United or Brighton, Crystal Palace or Bolton v Leicester, Liverpool or Accrington Stanley v Wigan, Derby County v Manchester City or Nottingham Forest, Watford or Southampton v Ipswich Town.