AFC Bournemouth 1
UNITED scraped to a mildly controversial victory in a lively friendly with Bournemouth on Wednesday afternoon.
Strangely for a development game, the referee took centre-stage with some dubious decisions and his influence boiled over with the dismissal of Bournemouth forward Jayden Stockley early in the second period.
Prior to seeing red, Stockley had actually opened the scoring on six minutes but the impressive Ashley Yeoman equalised before half-time. The winner arrived with just three minutes remaining, Kirtys Mackenzie thumping an unstoppable header into the top corner.
United started with Martin Rice behind a back four of Daniel Leadbitter, MacKenzie, Thomas Cruise and first-year apprentice Jake Hutchings.
The wide positions were filled by Karl Baker and Lloyd Macklin, looking for match fitness after a hamstring problem. George Artemi and trialist Chris Luxton worked the engine room, with Yeoman playing in the hole behind main striker Ryan Jarvis.
The Gulls flew out of the blocks on a sunny autumnal day at Plainmoor, with Yeoman testing the hands of Benhamin Buchel with a fine left-footed drive.
Seconds later, Bournemouth were in front, following an excellent run down the left from Harrison Gilkes and his deep cross was perfect for Stockley to nod in the opener at the back post – simple as that.
It was the perfect start for the Cherries, who had former Yellow hero and current development coach at Dean Court, Chris Hargreaves, barking the orders from the away dug-out.
Once United settled after conceding the early goal, Baker popped up on the right with a swinging cross, which eventually found Jarvis and his cut-back for MacKenzie was fired narrowly wide by the big centre-back.
The equaliser did arrive on the half-hour when a corner from Cruise was flicked on by Jarvis and Yeoman was perfectly positioned to steer the ball past Buchel from close range. It was a leveller the Gulls deserved for their superior possession.
The Cherries first saw red on 35 minutes when a lovely first touch from Stockley prompted a lunging tackle in the box by Leadbitter but the referee waved away passionate appeals for a penalty.
Credit to the visitors for not lingering on any disappointment, as a next exchange of passes manufactured space for Jordan Chiedozie to strike on goal but he was thwarted by three Gulls throwing their bodies at the ball.
The half ended with Bournemouth piling on the pressure and Stockley was denied by a terrific block from MacKenzie before Chiedozie was denied a certain goal by his own man, Gilkes, standing in the way.
Bournemouth were riled again early in the second period when a robust challenge from MacKenzie went unpunished and Stockley took his protests way too far, forcing the referee to show him a red card.
The impish Luxton instantly had a chance to press home the numerical advantage, as he was picked put by a delicious cross from Macklin but the little midfielder headed over at the near post.
Bournemouth understandably retreated and United sensed a wounded animal. MacKenzie first had a shot charged down before Baker picked out Yeoman in space, and he was only denied a second goal by a superb tip over from Buchel.
The Cherries were struggling with their discipline in the face of some questionable refereeing decisions and Ryan Case let his concentration slip with a slack back-pass and Yeoman was through on goal.
United’s star man looked to have skipped past Buchel with his first touch but the visiting ‘keeper somehow clawed the ball away as Yeoman was about to stroke into the empty net.
The closing minutes sparked into life when a mistake from Artemi presented Josh Wakefield with an opening but Rice made a fine block with his feet. United swept up the other end and Jarvis was unfortunate to see a curling effort deflected inches wide.
The Gulls would not be denied, however, as a terrific whipped cross from Yeoman was perfect for MacKenzie, still forward from the corner, to thunder a bullet header past the stranded Buchel.
Victory was assured when Hutchings produced a fine goal-saving challenge in injury-time to complete a frustrating day for Bournemouth.
United (4-3-3): 13 Martin Rice; 12 Daniel Leadbitter, 4 Jake Hutchings, 5 Kirtys MacKenzie, 21 Thomas Cruise; 11 George Artemi, 7 Chris Luxton, 23 Ashley Yeoman; 14 Lloyd Macklin, 8 Ryan Jarvis, 22 Karl Baker. Substitutes (not used): 13 Sam Shulberg (GK), 15 Robert Nardiello, 16 Jamie Alexandrou, 27 Jordan Campbell.
Bournemouth (4-4-2): 1 Benhamin Buchel; 2 Ryan Case, 5 Dan Strugnall, 6 Gary Bowles, 3 Jonathan Meades; 7 Clive Makoni (14 Jake McCarthy 59), 4 Josh Wakefield, 8 Jamal Bajadnouh (15 Josh Kaye 78), 11 Harrison Gilkes (12 Aristede Bassele H-T (16 Fauzi Saudi 70)); 9 Jayden Stockley, 10 Jordan Chiedozie.
Booked: Chiedozie 70
Sent-off: Stockley 53
Referee: Adam Hopkins