U21s beat Shrewsbury in cup semi-final
- Richie Watkins
Keelan O'Connell and Charlie Seaman were on target as a young Cherries' side booked a place in the Central League Cup final.
Well-worked goals in either half from Keelan O’Connell and Charlie Seaman were enough to see off an experienced Shrewsbury side at Montgomery Waters Meadow.
Aaron Holloway did reduce the deficit midway through the second half, but in truth the Cherries controlled much of the game, demonstrating maturity and composure that very much defied their youthful years.
Shaun Cooper’s side started the game well, dominating possession in the early throes.
Kyle Taylor looked particularly dangerous when on the ball, knitting together a series of neat passing moves that were unfortunate to not culminate in any real meaningful efforts on target.
Indeed the first effort on goal came from a set-piece. Seaman sent a dipping free-kick from all of 30 yards straight down the throat of Shrewsbury goalkeeper Reice Charles-Cooke.
Their positive start was rewarded with the opening goal of the contest on 22 minutes.
Taylor was once again central to the move, as the Cherries worked the ball into the area with a slick passing move from the left touchline before O’Connell fired a low effort into the far corner.
An experienced Shrewsbury side responded in turn.
Abo Eisa stung the palms of Mark Travers with a fierce shot from the left channel before the Cherries stopper was alert to keep out Holloway’s effort from close range from a corner kick.
Just prior to the interval, Travers again reacted well to keep out Lee Angol’s scruffy effort from a right-wing cross.
The second period started in a similar fashion to the first, with Shaun Cooper’s youngsters passing and moving the ball well through the midfield areas.
As the game wore on the hosts became increasingly cynical, halting a number of swift Bournemouth counter-attacks before they had chance to get going.
But there was nothing the hosts could do to prevent the Cherries' second goal.
Seaman collected the ball midway inside the Shrewsbury half, before working half-a-yard of space and letting fly with a wonderful dipping effort that arrowed into the bottom corner.
At the other end a defensive line expertly marshalled by Tyler Cordner continued to stand strong against the physical presence of Shrewsbury frontmen Angol and Holloway.
The home side committed men forward in an attempt to find a way back into the game, with Eisa once again thwarted by Travers.
Shrewsbury did eventually find a way past the Bournemouth rearguard, with Holloway arriving late to power home a back-post header from James Rowland’s clever cross.
From there on in the Cherries were forced to dig in and thwart a number of attacks from the home side, which ultimately proved just enough to secure their spot in the final.
Fleetwood Town or Notts County await, with the two scheduled to face off on Tuesday 29th January.