Forest Green Rovers Under 18s will look to learn lessons from a 5-0 defeat to Premier League side AFC Bournemouth in the Youth Alliance League.
Despite a number of good spells with and without the ball, the young Rovers side was broken down after 22 minutes, before a tough 10-minute spell at the end of the half saw them head into the break 4-0 down.
It wasn’t until the 91st minute that the Cherries added a fifth, and head of Academy Hannah Dingley admitted that the game got away from them at the end of the first half.
“It was a bit of a shock to the system. Bournemouth are a strong set-up who are trying to produce Premier League players, so it was a tough day for the boys,” she explained.
“The first goal went in after 22 minutes, but, in all honesty, the game was lost in a 10-minute spell at the end of the first half where we conceded three goals.
“Young players need to learn the psychological aspects of the game and how to deal with disappointment of conceding goals in quick succession.
“It’s a learning curve for the young boys and they are going to have to deal with that.”
Going forward Bournemouth’s quality really showed, with their impressive strike-force being the difference on the day.
“They’re a good side but I think we matched them for large periods of the game, which is disappointing in some respects, but the danger of playing good sides is the quality they have in the two boxes and that showed,” said Dingley.
“A lot of the goals were conceded from transitions where we had a good spell, lost the ball, and suddenly it was in the back of our net. There is still some game management to be learned in terms of when to slow the game down, how to slow the game down and how not to get hit by those sucker punches.
“I think the boys had good spells, but Bournemouth took their chances and were clinical in front of goal.”
The U18s will have the opportunity to get back on the right track next weekend as they welcome Plymouth Argyle, and Dingley insists a response is what is needed.
“We want a reaction against Plymouth on Saturday. The boys were bitterly disappointed because everyone goes into the first game of the season with high hopes, and to be 4-0 down at half time was a bit of a kick in the gut for them.
“They’ll train hard this week and bounce back for the Plymouth game.
“You have to remember that the aim of the game is to get a player who will play in the first team, and of course you want to win games of football and results like this are disappointing, but we spoke to them after the game and got them to look at their own performance and what we can improve on.”
FGR Under 18s host Argyle on Saturday at The Royal Agricultural College in Cirencester for an 11am kick off. Support is welcome from any FGR fans not making the trip to Walsall.