Camp brace but U18s finish level at Pompey
AFC Bournemouth Under-18s twice took the lead but were forced to settle for a draw at Portsmouth Under-18s on Saturday.
Brennan Camp put Alan Connell’s side ahead early on, before Portsmouth responded with an equaliser shortly after half-time.
Camp netted his brace to get the Cherries back in front, but another Pompey equaliser gave the two sides a point apiece.
Bournemouth, looking for a response after drawing 2-2 with Plymouth Argyle Under-18s on Tuesday, began the game in perfect fashion. In their first chance of the game, Tom Hanfrey’s corner connected with Camp, who headed in for 1-0 within two minutes of kick-off.
The Cherries continued to control the game’s opening exchanges, almost capitalising on their persistent chance-creation when another Hanfrey cross found Connor Kurran-Browne. The latter’s effort was blocked on the line to deny Bournemouth a second.
Dangerous from a counter-attack, Bournemouth had another good chance midway through the first half. Ryan Glover switched the play to Tom Dinsmore, who chested the ball down for Christian Saydee. The centre-forward’s powerful left-footed strike was goal-bound but saved at the near post by the ’keeper.
After an encouraging display that might have brought more goals, the Cherries went into the half-time break holding onto a 1-0 lead.
Portsmouth found a way back into the game early in the second half, as Freddie Read’s free-kick was nodded in by Harvey Rew to equalise.
But Bournemouth responded with a second goal that mirrored the first, Hanfrey again crossing in for Camp to head home from a corner; a set-piece routine that was proving hugely effective.
The Cherries held the 2-1 lead for just ten minutes, as Alfie Stanley’s strike at the near post took a deflection on the way in to sneak past Cameron Plain and get the home side level again.
Oscar Johnstone came close to giving Pompey a lead with an audacious back-heel flick that hit the crossbar after he received a cross from Leon Maloney on the 79th minute.
A couple of late chances went begging for the two sides, Rew missing at one end before Nathan Moriah-Welsh was unable to convert from Glover’s cross at the other. With neither team able to find a winner, the full-time whistle sounded another draw for Bournemouth, extending their unbeaten run in the league to 11.
Under-18s manager Alan Connell was relatively pleased with the game, and had this to say on the following the match:
“I was pleased with the first half. In the Plymouth game on Tuesday, where we got the same score line, it felt like we didn’t want to defend enough so we worked on that during the week. Off the ball, I got everything I wanted in the first half.
“We squeezed the line well and defended crosses well and stopped balls in behind. We got the ideal start and had other chances to get the all-important second goal which didn’t happen but we were pleased at half-time.
“Into the second half, against the wind, Pompey grew into the game and caused us problems. We conceded from a free-kick so that highlights the importance of set-pieces at any level.
“The first team have always been imaginative from set-pieces and with the two we scored from, we had tweaked on Thursday and Friday so it was pleasing to see them come off. The delivery and execution was excellent. Whether it’s the World Cup or non-league, it’s a massive part of football.
“A lot of the problems we cause for ourselves defensively come from not retaining the ball well enough.
“If you look at our first team, who I’m always pushing the boys to aspire to, they take the ball well under pressure no matter what the context is. The importance of looking after the ball will always be key, especially at this football club.
“It was an entertaining game. We could have won it but we could have lost it at the end as well so a draw is probably a fair result, but we need to defend well for the full game and get a clean sheet more often, because they ultimately win you games.”
STARTS FOR OLIVER AND KURRAN-BROWNE
“For James Oliver and Connor Kurran-Browne, they’re two lads who came from other clubs in the summer. It can be a bit of a culture shock coming here because of the intensity and demands that we put on the boys.
First and foremost, we had to get them physically ready for our intensity and how we want to defend, press and work back and recover. We didn’t do enough in the game to help them get on the ball moving forward, but they did well defensively.”
“We’ve got friendlies with West Ham for our under-17s and under-16s this week, which will help give us a look at possibly some of our youth team for next season. Following that, we play Swindon Town under-18s in the league on Saturday, who we drew with earlier in the season.
“It will be another tough game so we’ve got to keep the ball better and look to turn these draws that we’re having too many of into wins.”
The AFC Bournemouth under-18s side are sponsored by Strategic Solutions.