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U18s out of FA Youth Cup at Exeter


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

The under-18s' FA Youth Cup campaign ended at Exeter City after a 3-1 defeat to the Grecians at St James Park.

In a frantic opening ten minutes, Sonny Cox headed the hosts ahead before Euan Pollock replied almost instantly to bring the Cherries level.

Jack Veale restored the Exeter lead after a scramble in the area, Pollock hitting the woodwork in the closing stages as the Cherries chased parity.

City skipper Veale doubled his tally in the closing stages to put the game beyond the Cherries, who exited the competition.

Defender Jack Seddon missed out with a an ankle injury, watching his team-mates instead from the stands, as Alan Connell named a strong team in a competition so prestigious for youth teams around the country.

Getting started in cold, crisp but still conditions in Devon, the Grecians quickly looked energetic down the left with Veale delivering over a ball just out of reach for Michael Lilley at the back post.

It was from the same flank that the hosts took the lead in the sixth minute. Veale's set piece was wicked and glanced home by striker Cox, timing his run to perfection.

The lead lasted just a matter of moments though. The Cherries onto the attack a Marcus Daws through ball pierced the home defence and Pollock was through, sliding a cool finish beyond 'keeper Jack Arthur.

The dangerous Ajani Burchall saw a shot deflect wide as he made tracks towards goal, the Bermudan soon scampering onto a through ball and squaring for Pollock, whose first-time strike was brilliantly saved by Arthur.

Cherries defender Aaron Roberts survived a handball shout in his area, Frank Lovett then firing over, both sides carrying a real goal threat in the race for the tie's third goal.

Pollock flicked a cleverly-worked corner into the side netting for the Cherries, while in the next attack Burchall burst forwards again and shot low, Arthur dropping down to his right to make the save.

The Cherries began to control possession into the final ten minutes of the opening period, but there was no way through with the teams level at the break.

Into the second period and the sides continued to exchange blows. Daws first shot low but was unable to hit the target, while at the other end Veale drove in a strike that had Billy Terrell flying but saw the ball going narrowly over the bar with the aid of a slight deflection.

Unexpectedly, play was brought to a temporary standstill when a partial floodlight failure left half off the pitch darker than anticipated, the match restarting after about five minutes.

Finding a pocket of space in the area, Jake Adams looked to bend into the far corner, the ball going just wide, though the Grecians retook the lead after 72 minutes.

A through ball allowed a galloping Lovett to shoot in the box, well saved by Terrell but with the Cherries unable to get a foot on the ball it looped up kindly for Veale who headed goalwards.

A defender looked to clear off the line, only for the assistant's flag to be raised with the ball adjudged a goal to have been scored.

Terrell pulled off a terrific save to keep the Exeter lead a slender one, the home side continuing to push home their advantage with Terrell making another brilliant stop to thwart Lovett.

The Cherries came within a whisker of an equaliser when an onrushing Pollock blasted onto the crossbar, the ball bouncing clear.

However, the game's fourth goal came for City, Veale scoring his second header as he connected well with a cross from the right.

There was to be no late comeback for the Cherries, who dropped out of the FA Youth Cup with their first competitive defeat of the season.

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