Dominant City eliminate U18s
AFC Bournemouth Under-18s were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup quarter-finals by a strong Manchester City side, losing 4-1 on Tuesday night.
The Cherries, who had only reached the stage of the competition on one occasion 50 years ago, showed signs of their success this season with Tom Hanfrey’s first half volley.
City were ultimately too strong, dominant with the ball from start to finish, and goals from Felix Nmecha, Eric Garcia, Fisayo Dele-Bashiru, and Benjamin Knight sent them through to the semi-finals.
City began the game on the front foot, dominating the early spells of possession, forcing Brennan Camp to head a dangerous cross behind for a corner inside the first five minutes.
The away side made their dominance on the ball count with eight minutes played, Nmecha profiting from a misplaced Calum Ward goal-kick to curl a shot into the far corner from distance.
Gareth Taylor’s side continued to prove their Category One status, not allowing the Cherries to keep hold of the ball for any period of time.
But Bournemouth responded brilliantly, Hanfrey equalising with an excellent right-footed volley into the top corner. The left-back connected with the ball first-time after Nathan Moriah-Welsh had floated the cross over to him in plenty of space.
Despite getting back into the game, the Cherries continued to find themselves on the back-foot, patiently defending City’s slow build-up play in the hope of breaking on the counter.
Ward had an answer for everything City were throwing at him, getting down well to deny Dele-Bashiru’s shot from distance, as well as Adrian Bernabe’s low strike after he had delicately weaved his way into the box.
That was until the 38th minute, when the Cherries ‘keeper could do nothing about Garcia’s emphatic header into the far side of the goal from Thomas Doyle’s powerful corner. It put the away side 2-1 up shortly before half-time.
Going into the break 2-1 down, Alan Connell was forced into making a half-time change, with James Oliver replacing an injured Hanfrey.
City went close early in the second half, Benjamin Knight seeing his accurate header cleared off the line by Nathan Moriah-Welsh.
Camp through in a valiant last-ditch challenge on the 59th minute, from which he came off worse for wear. The Cherries skipper was able to carry on, but City shortly increased their lead as Adrian Bernabe pulled a cross back to Dele-Bashiru to bury into the bottom right corner for 3-1.
Luke Pardoe came on in the place of Connor Kurran-Browne, as the Cherries looked to get back into the game with 25 minutes to go.
The boys in blue continued to look dangerous, Rowan McDonald seeing a venomous strike clip Camp and go wide off the post on the 71st minute.
Oliver was presented with one of Bournemouth's few second half-chances, curling a shot wide after receiving the ball in a good area from Moriah-Welsh, before Euan Pollock replaced Luke Nippard.
The game looked all but over with 12 minutes to go, City adding insult to injury by going 4-1 up when Benjamin Knight found himself in acres of space to cut inside onto his left foot and find the far corner.
City saw out the dying embers in cruise control, but the Cherries had done well to stay in the game for as long as they had against such strong opposition.
In a game of few Bournemouth chances, the Cherries made one of their handful count. Moriah-Welsh's delicate dink from the edge of the D was controlled brilliantly by Hanfrey who, with a right-footed strike on the half volley, found the top right corner from an advanced full-back position.
City were on top for most of the evening, but Camp and Zeno Ibsen Rossi kept them at bay well, throwing in block after block to prevent the damage from increasing further.
Ward was also kept busy between the sticks, on a night that will serve his development well against some of the best attackers at this level.