AFC Bournemouth under-21s secured a 2-0 win over Carlisle United to win the Central League Cup this afternoon.
Taking place at St. George’s Park, Christian Saydee and Jaidon Anthony got the goals to ensure the silverware returned to the south coast.
Shaun Cooper named a strong side for the fixture, with Gavin Kilkenny, Jordan Zemura, Will Dennis and Anthony in the starting line-up.
It was an entertaining start, but the first chance fell the way of Carlisle, with Josh Dixon putting a lovely ball into the box for Sam Fishburn, the header going narrowly over the line.
Up the other end of the pitch, Saydee thought he had given the Cherries the lead in their first attack of the game, but his effort on the end of a Zemura cross was superbly tipped onto the bar by Gabriel Breeze.
However, a breakthrough did follow shortly after and it was Saydee who made it count. Ben Greenwood’s ball from the right was met in the box, with the striker finishing coolly from six yards.
Moments later and Keelan O’Connell surged forward with purpose and almost set up Brooklyn Genesini, but the shot from just outside the area went inches over.
O’Connell then had a chance of his own from a similar position, this time Ryan Glover creating the opportunity, but Breeze produced another good save one-on-one.
The Blues looked for a reply to Saydee’s opener and found a way through the defence via the experienced Gime Toure, but Dennis stood firm between the sticks.
With half-time approaching, it was Cooper’s side who got the all-important next goal and it was Anthony who made his mark. A brilliant ball across goal from Genesini by-passed the entire Carlisle defence and there was the forward to slot home from close range.
Before the interval, there was still time for the Cherries to push for a third. After an impressive turn and shot from Zemura was blocked, it fell the way of Anthony who forced yet another strong save from the Carlisle ‘keeper.
After the break, the under-21s continued where they left off, with Luke Nippard hitting the bar from inside the area after working himself into a good space.
O’Connell then tried his luck from 20 yards, with a curling effort that looked to be heading for the top corner, but it missed the post by inches and went for a goal-kick.
Carlisle looked to stamp their mark on the game, with Charlie Burch creating their first opportunity of the half, but Dennis got a big left fist to tip his effort over the bar.
It was then Gillela who stopped another attack, putting in a strong tackle to end Toure’s menacing run, before Fishburn’s shot on the half-volley was comfortably collected by Dennis.
The momentum then swung again and O’Connell was causing more problems on the right, this time playing a one-two with Anthony and only being denied by the palms of Breeze.
On the left, Zemura then provided a challenge for the Carlisle defencing, beating two players before pulling the trigger on the edge of the area, his low shot going just to the right of the post.
With the game drawing to a close, substitute George Hunt almost had an immediate impact as he found himself in space in the box, but a fantastic block from Keelan Leslie averted the danger.
Another strong performance from Cooper's side and they come away with the Central League Cup.