U18s defeated by Exeter
The report from our under-18s' latest league outing.
AFC Bournemouth under-18s’ difficult start to Merit League One continued with a 3-0 defeat away to Exeter City under-18s on Saturday.
The Cherries, who finished second in the Youth Alliance League South West Division, now sit at the bottom of Merit League One, following two defeats and one draw.
Exeter, who had beaten the Cherries home and away already this season, made it three wins from three against Alan Connell’s side with a 3-0 victory that takes them up to third in the table.
Reflecting on the match with afcb.co.uk, manager Alan Connell had this to say on the following topics…
A positive performance
“We started the game well. Exeter were difficult to break down but we were patient on the ball. We had one or two openings that we didn’t make the most of, before we got hit on the counter with a ball over the top which we should have defended a lot better. That put Exeter 1-0 up.
“It was against the run of play, but that gave them even more incentive to sit in and make it difficult for us. I was pleased with the intention of how we tried to play, but just before half-time, another defensive lapse cost us and we went into the break 2-0 down.
“We had played okay in the first half, but they were better in both boxes than we were. The second half was more of the same. We controlled the game with the ball and created a few good openings, but we missed a couple of really good chances.
“We should have done a lot better with our finishing. Then, we conceded from a set-piece late on. The scoreline doesn’t please me, but the way we tried to play on a difficult pitch did. We stuck to our principles and played the way we always play, but the technical execution has to be better. With work, it will improve. I’ve got no problems with work-rate or attitude."
Developing young players
“We played four under-16s so it was a very young group. We’ve drawn one and last two games in the Merit League One. Of course, we want to win games, but first and foremost we want to develop players. We’ve got plenty of second-years out on loan or playing with the under-21s, which is great.
“The job is to get them up as quickly as possible, and to get the first-years and under-16s playing now so they’re ready to move into next season. I saw good signs and good understanding of what we’re trying to do against Exeter. I’ve got no doubts we’ll improve."
“We’ve got a tough game against Oxford United on Tuesday. It should be an interesting one and we’ll have a young side out again, especially with the under-21s playing on Monday against Sholing.
“I’m excited to see the progression in these young players and it will be a good test for us.”
AFC Bournemouth under-18s are sponsored by Strategic Solutions.