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U18s start with Pompey stalemate


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

The under-18s began their competitive games programme with a 0-0 draw with Portsmouth on Saturday.

Despite the goalless conclusion, the Cherries carved out chances throughout the 90 minutes at Canford Arena, with striker Euan Pollock seeing a second-half penalty saved.

Other chances came when Khavarn Williams hit the post ahead of the break before Matt Burgess did likewise. Jack Wadham then struck the woodwork again in the last minute at a time the Cherries were down to ten men after Williams had seen red.

After the match manager Alan Connell told afcb.co.uk that he was pleased with the effort his side put in.

"Most importantly, I was absolutely delighted with the performance from start to finish, I couldn't ask any more from the players," he said.

"Their attitudes in and out of possession were spot on and I thought we moved the ball really well and created numerous chances against a stubborn Portsmouth side who came to Canford trying to make it difficult for us.

"On another day we would have won comfortably but their goalkeeper made saves, we hit the post three times and missed a penalty, it felt like one of those days. We kept going and that was really pleasing.

"The players were disappointed afterwards, they set high standards and they want to win, but I made sure that they were aware that the performance was good - that's the most important thing. If we get the performances right everything else will follow off the back of that.

"It was a really good test, I can understand why Portsmouth did what they did. They defended resolutely and that gave us problems to solve and generally I think we did that really well.

"We were patient on the ball, moved it well, created overloads in certain areas and as a result had chances. The players did everything they were asked to and I felt we came through that test, it was just that last little bit of luck or quality that stopped us scoring.

"We emphasised not to get frustrated at half time, which is difficult at any level when you're searching for that breakthrough. The football was good, however, and that gives me even more belief for the rest of the season."

Connell picked out a first-year centre-back from among his team for special praise.

He said: "Owen Bevan has had his injury problems in the last couple of years but is looking stronger and he gave a really confident and assured display."

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