U18s fall to Southend defeat
AFC Bournemouth Under-18s began their Merit League One season with a 3-1 defeat at Southend United on Saturday.
Brooklyn Genesini’s early goal got the Cherries off to a perfect start, but strikes from Terrell Egbri, Emile Acquah and Sam Knock ensured that the home side came away with the first three points of the season.
Bournemouth broke the deadlock within just two minutes, Luke Pardoe finding Luke Gray, who assessed his options before picking out Genesini across the box. The latter rounded the ‘keeper and placed the ball into an open net for 1-0.
However, Southend weren’t slow to respond, Egbri drilling a shot into the far corner with the help of a slight deflection off Tom Hanfrey nine minutes in.
The rest of the first half became an energetic and entertaining, end-to-end game of football, with both teams looking eager for more goals. Will Dennis kept Bournemouth in it with a good, low save on the 32nd minute.
When the next goal did come, it was via a set-piece for the home side, Acquah heading in after his previous shot was parried round the post well by Dennis.
With Bournemouth on the back foot, standing strong defensively was just as important as their attempts to get goals at the other end. Dennis saved well again to prevent Egbri from getting his brace, shortly before Nathan Moriah-Welsh headed a shot off the line to keep the score at 2-1.
Eight minutes remaining, the Cherries again showed they wouldn’t be beaten easily as Dennis saved a penalty after Hanfrey was deemed to have fouled Egbri by the referee.
But Bournemouth created little at the other end and paid the price with four minutes to go, another corner kick resulting in a Southend goal, as Knock fired a shot into the roof of the net to put the score beyond any doubt.
Reflecting on the game with afcb.co.uk after the match, Under-18s manager Alan Connell discussed the following topics.
Merit League One opposition
“This league is very competitive so we have to step up and move with that. We started the game really well and scored a nice team goal which Brooklyn finished off really well. Even though we were pegged back to 1-1, I thought we passed the ball well in the first half.
“We just lacked the final pass, which meant that we didn’t make the most of our possession. In the second half, we never really got out against a very direct Southend side. Two set-pieces scored by bigger, more powerful players have cost us.”
“Will Dennis is a very good goalkeeper who has been out for a long time through injury. I was pleased with his performance and in the long-term we believe he’s got a very bright future.
“Brooklyn Genesini has been working really hard on his game recently and has played a lot of games. He’s showing encouraging signs in his development as a first-year scholar. Tom Dinsmore was good as well, and he’s looking more and more like a young man with every performance.”
The AFC Bournemouth Under-18s are sponsored by Strategic Solutions.