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U18s Impress in Chelsea Friendly


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Despite falling to a 5-2 pre-season defeat at Chelsea, manager Alan Connell praised his side for their showing on Saturday.

Stepping into their third pre-season match away at prestigious opposition, the Cherries trailed 3-0 at half time but showed plenty of promise, especially after the resumption.

Khavarn Williams continue his free-scoring run with his fourth goal of pre-season as his partnership with fellow frontman Euan Pollock again bore fruit, with under-16s player Ben Winterburn also netting.

After the match manager Connell spoke with afcb.co.uk to give his view: "After conceding two goals relatively early in the game I was really interested to see the players' character and resilience.

"I was delighted with what I saw with the leadership on the pitch, even when things weren't going our way we still stuck to our principles, trying to find a way out and taking the ball in tight areas.

"Also, we didn't go quiet, so there were lots of positive aspects about the first-half performance, even though we came in at 3-0 down.

"We got into the final third but didn't really make enough of it when we got there. Chelsea were an outstanding team with high-quality individuals so anytime we did give the ball away we often didn't see it again for a while.

"Those are the levels that our boys should be aspiring to so it was a great experience to come up against that and it gave the boys a real challenge.

"We came out in the second half with a bit more belief I would say, especially in our forward play. While we had to defend quite a lot throughout the game, as the second half wore on we started to have large spells of possession and having them quite high up as well - trying to play through Chelsea.

"We got out forward players on the ball and started to create chances. After conceding a fourth we scored a lovely goal through Euan and Khavarn carrying on their good start to pre-season.

"They're playing well as a partnership and Euan unselfishly squared for Khavarn to tap in.

"An individual error cost us a fifth goal but again the response from all the players was a credit to them. We scored a well-worked second goal which fell to Ben just inside the box and he slotted home.

"I know we lost the game, but more importantly the performance and the mentality of all the players was really pleasing; I actually think that's our best performance even though we won the other two games before this.

"For Aaron Roberts I think it was the best game I've seen him play. He played right midfield for the first 60 minutes and then left-back for the final half hour and he deserves credit for how he did.

"Considering the opponents we were up against it was our best performance and acts as another building block to where we want to go and where we want to be."

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