Our MU21s Premier League Cup campaign got off to a disappointing start with a 3-0 home defeat to AFC Bournemouth.
After a goalless first half the visitors took control with three goals in eight minutes early in the second half. Benicio Baker-Boaitey had our best chance but Albion struggled to break down a well-drilled Bournemouth who were more clinical when the opportunities in front of goal came their way.
Our team included left-back Imari Samuels, who joined us from Reading last week, and both he and the rest of Albion’s defence had to be alert in the opening 30 minutes against a lively Bournemouth who pressed aggressively.
Clear-cut chances at either end were few and far between until the game opened up before half-time.
Bournemouth keeper Cameron Plain got right behind Baker-Boaitey’s well-struck shot from 20 yards before Albion had their best moment in the first half after 38 minutes.
Casper Nilsson’s cross from the right picked out Todd Miller, whose scuffed shot couldn’t be turned in by Zak Emmerson inside the six-yard box.
It was the visitors who started the second half on the front foot. They should have broken the deadlock when Matt Burgess fired wide from 12 yards when he should at least have tested Killian Cahill in our goal.
But on 54 minutes the Cherries were in front. Owen Bevan headed a right-wing corner down and Josh Popoola reacted quickly to steer the ball past Killian Cahill.
It got worse for Albion three minutes later. We gave the ball away on the edge of our box and Christian Saydee unselfishly squared the ball to Daniel Adu-Addei, who swept it past Cahill to make it 2-0.
Bournemouth put the game to bed with a third game in the 62nd minute. Burgess drove the ball across the face of goal from the right and Saydee swept it home at the far post.
Baker-Boaitey nearly got one back but Plain dived to his right to push his angled shot away,
We also face Derby and QPR home and away in the tournament with the group-stage fixtures completed before Christmas.
Albion: Cahill, Nilsson (Shann 76), Samuels (Hinshelwood 58), Tsoungui ©, Kavanagh, Chouchane, Packham, Hinchy, Miller, Baker-Boaitey (Everitt 75), Emmerson (Wilson 46). Sub not used: Reid.