Yeovil Town's Under 18s went down 3-1 against AFC Bournemouth this morning after seeing a first half lead slip away. A Rob Clowes goal midway through the first period had set them on their way to what was looking to be a useful win at Chapel Gate. However, some rough-house tactics by the home side saw the Glovers gain little protection from the match officials, and instead it Yeovil who had to finish the game with 10 men after Tom Hopkins was dismissed 15 minutes from time.
The first half saw the Glovers start brightly, looking comfortable on the ball and playing some good one and two touch football. The opening goal came 23 minutes into the half, when Corey Lewis went on a wonderful run down the right wing, cutting into the box, and then laying on a pinpoint pass to Rob Clowes who finished clinically to put the Glovers 1-0 up.
As the Glovers continued to dominate, Bournemouth seemed to be in disarray, with players arguing with each other, and largely playing like a team that looked like they had only met each other that morning. That said, a few of their tackles were fairly x-rated, with far too many involving leaving the foot in just after the ball had gone. Weak refereeing never really clamped down on this practice. A two-footed challenge by Brad Magookin on a Yeovil player finally earned Bournemouth a booking, although it probably should have been more.
Just before the break, the Glovers suffered a set-back when Bournemouth bagged an equalising goal at a crucial time. A free kick just outside the Glovers penalty area was flighted in, and Cherries No.9 Jayden Stockley was on hand to put the ball past Ryan Peacock to level the scores.
Whether it was the goal or the half-time team-talk, Bournemouth came out of the blocks with far more intent at the start of the second period, and they gained the lead five minutes into the half when a Tom Hill shot found the net.
A double substitution saw Lloyd Matthews and Adam Cleary introduced, but just before the hour mark, Bournemouth increased their lead further when Glovers keeper Ryan Peacock was unable to hang onto a Tim Stevenson free kick. At 3-1, a comeback was going to be difficult.
Rob Clowes was on the receiving end of a kick to the lower back, on the hour, and had to be withdrawn from the game. The game was getting increasingly fractious, with midfielder Tom Hopkins having his face forced into the ground by an opponent after he was fouled. Hopkins could therefore feel somewhat aggrieved when two minutes later, his own foul on a Bournemouth player saw him receive a straight red. A Bournemouth player's piece of retribution on the player as Hopkins sat on the floor received only a yellow. Given Hopkins' tackle was comparable with Bournemouth's first half foul by Magookin, and given all of what went on both before and after the actual red card incident, then those watching will have been left wondering why greater consistency was not provided by the officials.
Thankfully following that set of incidents, the game calmed down somewhat. Despite Hopkins' red card, his contribution to the game was strong, and he continues to mature, which given that he is still eligible for Under 16s football is promising. Another Under 16s player who showed great promise was Lloyd Matthews when he came on as a second half substitute. Being critical, the team need to compete for the second balls better than they did today, but they will feel that they were let down by officials that should have clamped down on some of the gamesmanship and foul play rather than eventually allow the game to boil over as matters escalated.
Final Score: AFC Bournemouth Under-18s 3 Yeovil Town Under-18s 1.
Scorers: Rob Clowes (23 mins, 0-1), Jayden Stockley (43 mins, 1-1), Tom Hill (50 mins, 2-1), Tim Stevenson (56 mins, 3-1).
Yeovil Town Under 18s:
1. Ryan Peacock 2. Adam Wakley 3. Joseph Grimstead 4. Rhys Baggridge 5. Sam Ford 6. Johnny Oliver 7. Tyler Sheppard 8. Thomas Hopkins 9. Cory Lewis 10. Robert Clowes 11. Ciaran Levet
Substitutes: 12. Lloyd Matthews (56 mins for Ciaran Levet) 13. Adam Cleary (56 mins for Cory Lewis) 14. Aidan Chainey (60 mins for Rob Clowes) 15. Andy Baker
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