AFC Bournemouth under-21s started pre-season with a victory over Rising Ballers Academy at Canford Park Arena.
With a number of Shaun Cooper’s squad in Marbella with the first-team, it provided an opportunity for a young squad to showcase their talents.
Rising Ballers Academy, which is a team comprising of players released from academies with ambitions of making it back to the professional game, started the game brightly and had the opening chance as Youssef Chentouf fired against the side-netting from close range.
The Cherries soon gained control of the fixture and almost opened the scoring when Marcus Daws found Matt Burgess with a clever cut-back, but the midfielder couldn’t keep his effort down.
Burgess was able to break the deadlock after 17 minutes as he picked up the ball at the edge of the box and fired home, his low effort finding the bottom corner.
The lead was doubled just before half-time as Cameron Plain claimed an unlikely assist. The goalkeeper made a good catch and quickly sprayed the ball forward towards Euan Pollock, the forward able to get between the defender and goalkeeper, push the ball into the box, and then side-foot home.
Rising Ballers Academy reacted well in the second half amid a flurry of home changes and went close, forcing a good save from replacement goalkeeper Ollie Camis. Jayden Clarke beat a Cherries defender to the ball, but Camis made himself big and tipped his effort onto the outside of the post.
The Cherries almost clinched a third goal in the 70th minute as Finn Tonks made a threatening run down the right flank and sent a delicious cross into the box, just evading Dan Adu-Adjei before Michael Gonzalez Dacosta sliced wide.
Adu-Adjei had a chance moments later when he received Okoh’s pass, who’d made a good interception in the middle of the park. However, the forward’s shot was deflected narrowly wide.
Rising Ballers were inches away from cutting the deficit with just five minutes to go when Jayden Clarke fired a wonderful effort from 25-yards towards the top corner, but it crashed against the underside of the bar and bounced clear.
Shaun Cooper’s side should have extended their lead in the final stages when Noa Boutin fired wide from inside the box, before Adu-Adjei forced a good save from the goalkeeper moments later.