AFC Bournemouth Under 21s got off to the perfect start in the group stages of the Premier League Cup with a 3-2 win over Norwich City Under 21s on Tuesday night.
Perhaps unsurprisingly it was two first team strikers who made the headlines in this fixture. All eyes were on Callum Wilson as he made his long awaited return from injury, while his strike partner Benik Afobe let his football do the talking, scoring a hat trick to secure all three points for Carl Fletcher’s side.
The Canaries had the first real opportunity of the game early on following a poor back pass from Cherries right back Charlie Seaman. Savvas Mourgas latched onto the loose pass, but the Norwich midfielder’s strike towards the near post was well saved by Jordan Holmes.
Kyle Taylor got the home crowd excited with a great dipping effort from outside the area which landed just on the roof of the net and Wilson had his first chance to score moments later, only to be denied by the Norwich keeper Aston Oxborough.
With 38 minutes on the clock AFC Bournemouth took the lead after a great eye of the needle through ball from Shaun Hobson found Afobe, who broke through the defence and finished cooly past Oxborough.
Early in the second half a blocked effort from Wilson found Keelan O’Connell, who spurned a great chance with his header which went narrowly wide.
With 65 minutes on the clock, Wilson had his final involvement in the game, chipping the goalkeeper successfully, only for the goal to be correctly ruled out for offside.
Mikael Ndjoli replaced the number 10 and had a chance immediately to get on the scoresheet. The substitute made a blistering run to get past the defensive line, but put his attempted finesse shot well wide.
On 71 minutes Norwich drew level as Tristan Abrahams slotted home from close range to silence the crowd.
Despite that setback it only only took four minutes for the Cherries to retake the lead as Afobe got played through one on one again and put the ball beyond the keeper.
That lead did not last long as Abrahams scored a second goal with a clinical finish less than two minutes after the Canaries fell behind.
Norwich were rather fortunate to still be in the game upon reflection of the number of chances created from both sides and the Cherries struck a well deserved winner in the 88th minute of the game.
Afobe sealed his hat trick as he calmly took his time to move the ball past committing defenders, sorted his feet out and stroked the ball home to the delight of the 1000 strong home crowd.
Ndjoli had a great opportunity to put the icing on the cake of a strong performance from the Under 21s side but blazed his chance high and wide when through one on one with the goalkeeper.
The Under 21s are next in action in the Premier League Cup on Tuesday 31st October when they host Bury at the Vitality Stadium at 1pm.