Oxford United U18s fell to a 5-2 defeat against a strong AFC Bournemouth side in the Youth Alliance League this morning.
It was a slow start for United’s youngsters who found themselves behind on six minutes. A lapse in concentration from the U’s allowed Bournemouth to feed the ball to the back post from a set piece where Harvey Bertrand was on hand to tap in from close range.
Without familiar names Nico Jones, Slavi Spasov and Tyler Goodrham in the side, United battled for possession in the early stages but found themselves two goals down in the opening ten minutes as Saydee played the ball across goal for Euan Pollock to roll home the host’s second. A difficult start for United who found themselves with work to do after two lapses in concentration cost them early on.
United responded well initially after going behind, with Connor Ferguson’s deflected shot whistling behind the post, before Chambers-Parillon found Jack Stevens with a good pass but United’s number 10’s shot was saved by the goalkeeper. Bournemouth were dangerous going forward though, and found themselves further ahead after a spell of pressure. Another pull back from the byline found Jack Wadham to finish into the corner to give United plenty to think about going into the second half.
As Sam Johnson replaced Ferguson before half time, Callum Crook came on for Smith at the break as the U’s changed their shape ahead of the second period. And the U’s started the second half brightly too. Lopes, although ruled narrowly offside, struck the post whilst Stevens’ shot was blocked on the edge of the area but it was the best spell of pressure of the game from the youngsters.
Elechi’s run on 55’ saw the ball eventually worked to Chambers-Parillon who shifted the ball onto his right foot before seeing his shot blocked from 12 yards as United pushed for a goal back. However, just as the youngsters were beginning to find their stride and apply pressure on the hosts, Bournemouth grabbed their fourth from a counter-attack. After the ball was headed against the post the rebound fell nicely to a Bournemouth man on the edge of the area who drilled home before Bournemouth made it five moments later with another finish from close range.
United didn’t deflect from their game plan though as they continued to come forward. Chambers-Parillon’s excellent cross towards Stevens almost found the midfielder but a good clearance denied the U’s before Chambers-Parillon was involved again at the near post as his flicked header was cleared off the line. Jack Stevens grabbed a goal back for the U's as he capitalised on a misplaced pass five minutes from time and Viktor Milton fired in United's second, but the hosts managed to see out the win despite late pressure.
It’s unfamiliar territory for the youngsters this season to be on the wrong side of such a scoreline but the response will be key as the youngsters enter a busy period of fixtures in the coming weeks.
UNITED: Evans, Gardner (Edwards), Elechi, Sole, Milton, Barnett-Grant, Lopes, Chambers-Parillon, Smith (Crook), Stevens, Ferguson (Johnson)
Unused Subs: Niemczycki