Charlie Daniels played his first minutes of football in over a year and scored a stunner as the under-21s won 3-2 away at Yeovil Town on Saturday.
Daniels' halfway-line lob was sandwiched between two brilliant Jaidon Anthony goals, the Cherries pegged back from their two-goal interval lead before the striker's fine winner from distance.
The Huish Park friendly was the final warm-up before Shaun Cooper's side head to Moneyfields in the delayed Hampshire Senior Cup semi-final match carrying over from 2019/20.
Manager Cooper gave his thoughts on the performance of his side to afcb.co.uk.
"The most pleasing thing was that we showed how adaptable and flexible we can be," he said. "We had a makeshift back four, losing our two centre-backs the evening before the game, so had Luke Nippard and Ben Greenwood playing in the centre of defence.
"They came up against seasoned strikers and I thought they coped very well, they played a big part in all the success we had playing out from the back.
"Under real pressure, the boys were really brave in their play, they stuck to their principles and showed real courage and quality.
Goals | Yeovil Town 2-3 AFC Bournemouth U21s
"Out of possession there was a really high energy to press Yeovil, squeeze the backline and the lads applied a lot of the things we've been working on recently really well so I was pleased with that.
"I mentioned the makeshift back four but I look at the attacking players and the midfield and I felt confident that we would go and cause them problems. Jaidon Anthony was at times unplayable, Keelan O'Connell is getting back to his best after a long time out.
"There were so many good individual performances that naturally we were going to have a good collective team performance as a result."
The fixture also saw the return to action of Daniels, the left-back coming into the under-21s to get minutes as he continues his fitness return having not played competitively since August 2019.
Cooper filled afcb.co.uk in on Daniels' progress as well as the important role he played in his side's preparations for the match.
"Charlie came through fine physically, it was great to have a player of his calibre in such a makeshift back four. His voice was vital and the lads would have really enjoyed and taken a lot from playing alongside somebody like him," he said.
"His professionalism was exemplary and great for the boys to see and great for me to have in the dressing room so we can see what we often talk about and what they need to be like.
"As a player we know Charlie's quality and I wouldn't say it was too much of a challenge for him, he showed the ability he has and he capped that off with such a great goal."