Exeter City’s under-16s played their first competitive game of the season when they travelled to Dorset to face AFC Bournemouth.
Despite Cole Harford and Jay Stansfield scoring, Chad Gribble’s side lost to the Cherries 4-2 in a match where they perhaps rued missing some good chances.
It was the hosts that started the brighter, however in spite of the Grecians being pinned back into their own half, they still squandered two decent opportunities to take the lead.
Bournemouth scored the opening goal of the game after 15 minutes, before the home team doubled their advantage five minutes later.
City finished the half strongly, however they went into the interval two goals behind when they might have led 4-2 had things gone their way.
The second half saw the visitors start positively, however they were unable to punish their opponents when they made errors in possession.
With Exeter looking for a way back into the contest, the Dorset club scored a third with a swift counter-attack.
With 15 minutes remaining, hope was restored to the away team when Harford reduced the deficit by meeting a deep cross at the far post. However, the belief was quickly extinguished when the score became 4-1 thanks to a Bournemouth long, direct free-kick in the latter stages.
Stansfield netted a consolation for the Grecians on 88 minutes, but there wasn’t enough time to mount a comeback, meaning Gribble and his young squad started competitive football this season with an unfortunate defeat.
Gribble believed it was an unfortunate defeat for his side.
“I didn’t think 4-2 reflected the performance," he said. "It was fairly even, but we were always chasing the game. We were as good as them, we had more chances, and more territory in the second half, and we know we can turn these kind of matches into wins by taking our chances next time out.”