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Young Cherries win regional final

The AFC Bournemouth under-16s pose for a team photo.

AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth under-16s won the EFL Southern Area Final of the Youth Alliance Cup at Aldershot Military Stadium with an emphatic 7-0 victory over Northampton Town under-16s on Saturday.

The result takes the Cherries through to the EFL National Final, which will be played against either Lincoln City under-16s or Wigan Athletic under-16s, depending on who wins their respective fixture on Saturday 8th December. The final has been provisionally set for Sunday 16th December, the venue to be confirmed.

Bournemouth found the breakthrough early on, LG chipping the Northampton ‘keeper in the fifth minute having been played through on goal by EP. Northampton responded with attacking intent, but the Cherries defended well and cleared the danger on each occasion.

It took until the 36th minute for Bournemouth to extend their lead, a well worked move from the back ending in EP cutting the ball back to the edge of the six-yard box to find an unmarked LG, the latter having no trouble slotting the ball home.

Two minutes later, provider turned scorer as EP got the Cherries’ third with a shot going beneath the Northampton ‘keeper, giving his side a strong 3-0 lead going into the half-time break.

Northampton’s second-half strategy shifted from looking to counterattack to being more aggressive in their press high up the pitch, but this left them exposed on the 64th minute as JA expertly fired the ball into the top left corner, having received the pass from the ever-involved EP.

RM and EH, both of whom came on as half-time substitutes for Bournemouth, combined to make it five, RM crossing to EH to head in from eight yards.

JA got Bournemouth’s sixth and arguably their best goal of the game, a string of six passes in 20 seconds manifesting in JA scoring from a move that began with goalkeeper BS.

At the other end, substitute Cherries ‘keeper JB was called into action with 12 minutes to go, keeping the clean sheet with a fine save one-on-one with an opposition forward.

There was just enough time for one more Bournemouth goal, JA completing his first hat-trick for the Academy, finding the net after cutting in from the by-line to win the game 7-0.

Following the game, AFC Bournemouth Lead Youth Development Coach, Graham Mills, spoke to afcb.co.uk.

“Overall, it was a very dominant performance in which we played some excellent attacking football. Our work off the ball was even more pleasing, restricting Northampton to very few chances.

“We showed the players a highlights reel of their performances this season before the game. Within the video there were also some quotes from Eddie Howe about what it means to play for AFC Bournemouth and the core principles that players must defend and adhere to in order to be successful.

“The overall message was around the club ethos of 'together, anything is possible'. This is so engrained in everything we do on a daily basis, but we wanted to remind the players of that ahead of playing a tough opponent who had dominated their league.

“As a coach, more so than the result or the performance, it was the way that they worked hard for and supported each other and demonstrated the core principles that pleased me.

“It was a great moment for them and as a group they deserve to go and enjoy a national final for their efforts so far this season.”

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