U18s held to draw by Chelsea
AFC Bournemouth Under-18s twice gave away a one-goal lead to draw 2-2 at home to Chelsea Under-18s on Saturday, thanks to goals from Christian Saydee and Jake Cope.
Chelsea dominated the ball for large periods of the first half, but Saydee broke the deadlock following a well-worked team move early on.
The away side equalised with half an hour remaining, but Bournemouth responded quickly as Cope got on the scoresheet, only for Chelsea to tuck away a penalty moments before the final whistle to equalise.
Chelsea, who came into the game as favourites thanks to their category one academy status, had the lion’s share of the games early chances, with number four and number five both seeing shots fly over the bar within the first ten minutes.
Bournemouth found a way through the Blues with some exquisite build-up play on the 11th minute. Zeno Ibsen Rossi played a one-two with Brooklyn Genesini on the right wing, the latter creatively back-heeling his return pass to Ibsen Rossi. The ball was then played inside to Saydee who smashed a shot into the bottom left corner from distance to open the scoring.
The rest of the first half was all about containing Chelsea’s pressure for Bournemouth, as goalkeeper Joe Beasant and Ibsen Rossi stood out among a handful of admirable defensive performances.
The Cherries shot-stopper began the second half in similar fashion, getting down low to save with his feet as Chelsea’s number five shot on goal from close range.
But Bournemouth could only weather the storm for so long, and with half an hour left to play the away side did find the equaliser, as number ten showed great ball control to weave his way around a handful of Cherries players before tucking the ball into bottom left corner.
It didn’t take long for Bournemouth to restore their lead, as Tom Dinsmore’s free-kick on the 65th minute went straight to Jake Cope who, just outside the 18-yard box, swivelled and directed a shot out of the ‘keeper’s reach for 2-1.
Once again, the Cherries were unable to hold on. A misplaced pass and an unfortunate deflection combined to send Chelsea’s number eight through on goal with minutes left on the clock. Beasant rushed out to narrow the angle, but his challenge was too late to win the ball and the referee awarded a penalty. Number eight duly dispatched into the bottom right corner, and the sides were forced to settle for a draw.
Speaking to afcb.co.uk after the friendly match, Under-18s manager Alan Connell had this to say on the following topics…
Playing against Category One opposition
“I think we did well. Our team was made up of Under-16, 17s, and 18s. With how good Chelsea’s academy is and how good their players are, it was the perfect test for us. It’s ideal preparation for our Youth Cup game against Aston Villa on Friday.
“At times, we had to defend very well and generally I think we did. We created a decent amount of chances and scored two good goals. We could have had more, but Chelsea will feel the same. It was competitive.”
“Joe Beasant is an Under-16s player who’s joined us at the academy quite late in his development. He handled the ball well, passed out well, came for crosses, and made saves. His performance will be a big confidence boost for him moving forward.
“Connor Kurran-Browne played as a striker for us today, and he’s just a good footballer and a good forward player. He looks after the ball well and makes things happen, so he can be pleased with his performance as well. He’s in a good vein of form at the moment.”
Reacting to Exeter defeat
“At Exeter last week we were too passive with and without the ball. We normally do those things very well and I was pleased with the reaction I saw against Chelsea. We’re not going to be great every week, but if we have a set-back it’s important that we respond.
“The effort and preparation midweek for this game had been really good, and it will need to be the same again this week ahead of the Youth Cup game.”
The AFC Bournemouth Under-18s side are sponsored by Strategic Solutions.