U18s edge past Cheltenham
Christian Saydee's solitary goal the difference in tight game at Canford Arena.
AFC Bournemouth Under-18s edged out a deserved 1-0 win over Cheltenham Town thanks to Christian Saydee’s late strike at Canford Arena on Saturday morning.
The Cherries dominated the game and had more chances than their visitors, winning themselves a well-earned three points, despite what the slim lead might suggest, to extend their unbeaten run in the league to 13.
The first chance of the game fell to Jake Scrimshaw, featuring for the Cherries for the first team since his loan move to Poole Town, one which allows him to play for both clubs. He met a Tom Hanfrey cross with a header back across goal on the eighth minute, but the shot trickled wide.
Bournemouth enjoyed spells of quality attacking possession and chance creation throughout the first half, the Cherries linking up with pace against a high press from Cheltenham. One such move resulted in Tom Dinsmore finding Saydee outside the box before the Cherries forward wriggled between two defenders only to see his shot put out for a corner by the ‘keeper.
Another period of high intensity came on the 34th minute, a Saydee shot leading to a corner for Dinsmore to play short to Tom Hanfrey. The latter struck the ball venomously from distance, forcing the ‘keeper to parry it out for another corner, from which Saydee saw a volley go over the bar.
The dominance hadn’t paid dividends by half-time, but Alan Connell’s side came out of the break with the same determination about them, and Brennan Camp would have scored a header at the far post from Jake Cope’s deep cross had Freddie Capworth not saved acrobatically to deny him.
Bournemouth came close again with just under 15 minutes to play, Dinsmore and Luke Nippard exchanging a neat one-two before the former saw his effort from distance go just wide.
With ten minutes to go, the pressure paid off and the deadlock was broken. James Oliver, who had come on as a substitute, found Saydee just inside the box with a pass from the right wing. Saydee struck the ball first-time precisely into the bottom left corner to give his side the lead that their performance had warranted.
Bournemouth saw out the final ten minutes to keep up their fine form ahead of Wednesday night’s FA Youth Cup game at Vitality Stadium.
Speaking to afcb.co.uk after the game, under-18s manager Alan Connell commented on the following topics.
“We huffed and puffed against a really well organised Cheltenham side. They came here to make it difficult for us and I felt they did that. We had some good spells of possession and created some good chances but didn’t take them.
“As the game wore on, I felt like we were capable of making the breakthrough. Bringing on James Oliver gave us a little bit of a lift and he helped create the goal for Christian Saydee to finish well. I’m delighted with the clean sheet as well. We limited Cheltenham to very few opportunities in difficult conditions.
“We were willing to take the ball under pressure and play through the thirds. Sometimes these sorts of victories are nice because we kept going and scored with ten minutes to go. There was a good feeling in the dressing room afterwards because the boys worked ever so hard to get the victory. It gives us confidence ahead of Wednesday night.”
FORM AHEAD OF WEDNESDAY’S YOUTH CUP GAME
“We always strive for consistency, and whilst we haven’t always been perfect in our play, there’s definitely a resilience about this group that, even when things aren’t going our way, they keep working hard and make it difficult for the opposition.
“To go 13 games unbeaten in the league is nice and we need to know the importance of being consistent. We’re in a good place, but there’s no time for complacency and we have to go again and perform on Wednesday night.”
CALUM WARD IN GOAL
“Calum looked assured today. He’s been out on loan in non-league like a lot of the second-year players have. It was good to get him back involved today and he’s been doing really well recently. He carried on the recent good work he’s been putting in.”