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Late U18s strike nicks Saints draw


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Aaron Roberts claimed a draw for the under-18s as he scored late to secure a 3-3 draw in pre-season with Southampton.

In an exciting encounter at Canford Arena, the final fixture for the Cherries ahead of their league start next weekend, Euan Pollock scored inside three minutes to give the hosts the lead.

Saints soon hit back with a penalty before netting again to lead at the interval.

Pollock continued his fine pre-season form with his fifth goal in four games when he reacted to convert a rebound from strike partner Khavarn Williams' shot, though Southampton hit the front again with 20 minutes remaining.

Battling to the end, Roberts slotted home from a one on one in the 90th minute, though Jake Adams then fired over even later in proceedings as the Cherries came within a whisker of a winner.

After the match manager Alan Connell spoke with afcb.co.uk about his side's performance against category one opposition.

"In the first half Southampton caused us problems and it was difficult to get as much pressure high up the pitch as we wanted, because of their good play and partly because of things we could have done better," he said.

"The one time we did get our press right we managed to nick the ball and Euan scored for our first goal.

"Their quality, especially with their two advanced midfielders, saw them find pockets of space and gave us good problems to solve, which I enjoyed and hopefully the players did as well.

"In the second half we managed to get more control of the game with the ball, which enabled us to create a few more chances and have more sustained pressure higher up the pitch.

"That was pleasing and we were obviously happy to equalise before going behind again.

"The response was good at 3-2 down and the subs made a positive impact when they came on - I felt we looked more likely to equalise then they were to score a fourth.

"That's how it turned when Aaron popped up with a smartly-taken finish. We had the big chance right at the end that wasn't to be, but there was great character on show from the players.

"They displayed a lot of spirit, resolve and at times quality on the ball. We were nowhere near our best in possession but there were still patches of good play, we were just a bit inconsistent on the ball and didn't quite have our rhythm.

"All-in-all it was a really good workout, a local derby and a very competitive game. It was a really good test for the boys and one that we will be better for experiencing as we move into the competitive games programme next week.

"Our two central midfielders, Jack Wadham and Ferdinand Okoh, had a lot to deal with, they had three central midfielders but I thought out of possession the pair did a lot of good things and used the ball well at times as well.

"Tarik Gidaree also had another good performance. He's starting to put them back-to-back now which was one of his problems last year, he's had four solid games behind him so I'm excited to see him this season."

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