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U18S beaten away at Oxford


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

The under-18s performed strongly but were sucker-punched as they lost 3-1 away at title rivals Oxford United.

The Cherries had chances early in the game, Matt Burgess seeing a one on one tipped over by the ‘keeper, before Abdi Mohamed fired just wide from a well-worked set piece.

However, despite large spells of possession for the away side, hosts United took the lead by winning and scoring a penalty after the ball had struck the arm of defender Owen Palmer.

The U’s had a second when the visitors were unable to clear a set piece and the ball fell to an attacker who curled into the far corner with a good finish.

Bournemouth created chances after the restart, forcing some good saves and having sustained pressure high up the pitch.

Jake Adams missed the chance to halve the deficit from the spot for the Cherries with 20 minutes remaining, Oxford then scoring a third five minutes before the end.

Captain Jack Wadham did convert with a late penalty for the visitors, cutting the arrears in added time.

After the match manager Alan Connell spoke to afcb.co.uk about the match and the performance from his side.

“Our games against Oxford are always highly competitive matches and this one was no different,” he said. “Oxford have got good players and are always a threat.

“We expected a difficult game and that’s exactly what we got. We started the game really well and made two chances which we didn’t take, I thought we controlled the first half with the ball up until the penalty decision.

“Even after that we got our game going again and then had the sucker punch of the second goal just before half time.

“It was a strange feeling at the break because I felt we’d done a lot of positive things. At 2-0 down you often feel there’s loads wrong, but I didn’t think that was the case.

“I was delighted with the response. We came out fighting and showed lots of quality high up the pitch and with some sustained pressure, creating numerous opportunities and forcing their ‘keeper into some good saves.

“If we’d have got the first one the momentum might have swung in our favour, but ultimately their third goal killed it off. Credit to the boys, they responded again with our late goal but by the then the game was beyond us.

“It was a massive day for our players to learn what football can be about, it’s not always with the ball, sometimes it’s without the ball and sometimes there are external factors that you have to deal with as well.

“Overall, I’m very proud of how they conducted themselves in amongst some very difficult situations that presented themselves on the pitch.

“They were a credit to themselves and the club and while we’re disappointed to lose the game, I think our boys will have learned so many lessons that hopefully in the years to come they can look back on and remember in the journeys to being professional footballers.

“The three under-16s that played today especially got some great experience, Ben Winterburn in particular put in a really pleasing performance.”

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