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U18s win title late Daws in thriller


AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

A late Marcus Daws winner saw the under-18s claim the Merit League title after a pulsating 3-2 win away at Swindon Town on the final day of the season.

Daniel Adu-Adjei profited from a rebound to give the Cherries their first lead, though the Robins found parity before half time.

Daws gave the visitors the advantage again before Swindon once more equalised with the clock winding down.

However, there was to be no denying the Cherries and Daws' fine second won the match and the league title for Bournemouth inside the final five minutes.

Alan Connell's side arrived in Wiltshire knowing that a win was needed to seal top spot and early on Daws' shot was blocked from just outside area after Michael Dacosta Gonzalez's good work wide left to play him in.

Swindon threatened with a low shot from skipper Harry Parsons from outside the area but wide of the post before Ferdinand Okoh had a shot saved and then Adu-Adjei couldn’t quite poke the loose ball home.

Adu-Adjei did next open the scoring, Okoh's shot parried by 'keeper Harry Cant into his path for the forward to score into an inviting net.

The Robins hit a free-kick against the top right corner of the bar from 30 yards out and they were soon through one-on-one but Abdi Mohamed recovered well to block. 

Swindon were level when Parsons found the target with a good individual effort, after having slalomed through the middle of the pitch.

Jake Adams hit the post with a low free-kick, his team-mates unable to follow up.

Into the second half and Bournemouth 'keeper Ollie Camis made a good save from a shot inside the area, using a big left hand to keep the ball out as it went across the face of goal.

The Cherries were back in front for a second time when Daws burst down the left and hit a low near-post shot beyond the Swindon 'keeper.

Adams couldn’t quite work a shooting opportunity after receiving a pass from Daws. He lay the ball off to Okoh but the shot curled over.

Matt Burgess tried an audacious chip from free-kick but didn't trouble the 'keeper, Daws next having a shot blocked from just outside area after Dacosta Gonzalez's good work on the left.

Despite the away pressure, the hosts pulled themselves level as the game ticked into the final stages. A long ball over the top was taken down by Jacob Bunch and lifted over the 'keeper as the Cherries' grip on the trophy loosened.

Bournemouth back pushing for a winner at the other end, Owen Palmer beat his man and squared for Daws but his shot was wild and over the bar.

The clincher did soon arrive, however. Two of Bournemouth's key attackers from the campaign combining with Adams crossing low and Daws finishing with a first-time strike.

The drama was not over as Camis was required to make a brilliant late save, getting has palm to a shot heading into the top-right corner.

Nerves calmed, Bournemouth saw the game to the final whistle to secure their prize.

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