AFC Bournemouth win in season opener

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Scott Parker won his first competitive game as he watched his new Bournemouth side thrash MK Dons 5-0 in the Carabao Cup.

David Brooks put the Cherries 1-0 up just after half an hour but it was a scintillating second-half performance that saw goals from Dominic Solanke, Phillip Billing, Christian Saydee and a second for Brooks that sealed the win and progression into the second round.

Bournemouth got off to a bright start, and it was Brooks who created the first opportunity for Bournemouth with just 10 minutes on the clock. The winger drove into the box from the right hand side, crossing from the byline but Solanke and Jaidon Anthony seemed to get in each other’s way before the ball was cleared.

A light drizzle started to fall over the Vitality Stadium and MK Dons almost opened the Cherries up. A throw-in from the left fell to David Kasuma who was unmarked and drove into the box. The Dons captain was unable to find Mo Eisa and Mark Travers easily scoop up the ball.

After 20 minutes, MK Dons created their best opportunity of the match, when Daniel Harvie’s cross was knocked down into the path of Scott Twine. But the new signing from Swindon drove his first time shot straight at Travers who saved comfortably.

Bournemouth then started to dominate possession and began carving out more opportunities. It was again Brooks who was at the centre of the action just before the half-hour mark. 

Anthony drove down the left to find Billing in the box, the Danish midfielder slipped Brooks in, who found himself in plenty of space but blazed over the bar from 10 yards out.

Then on 35 minutes, Brooks got his goal. The Welsh winger winger connected first time with a wonderful ball from Gavin Kilkenny and Bournemouth’s number seven volleyed home – low and hard into the bottom corner.

Stacey was taken off with an injury just before the half-time whislte and was replaced by Jordan Zemura, which saw Adam Smith switch to right-back. 

Bournemouth came firing out of the blocks in the second half and it didn’t take long for them to double their lead. 

A lovely move that started in central midfield saw Kilkenny find Brooks on the right wing, the winger then laid the ball off for an overlapping Smith whose cross found Solanke just 6 yards out. The striker spun on the spot to finish coolly and put the Cherries 2-0 up.

MK Dons didn’t create much and a 40 yard drive from centre-back Harry Darling summed up the visitors afternoon as the ball went wide of Travers’ goal.

Just after the hour mark Brooks drew a foul 22 yards out on the edge of the box. The winger had been a nuisance all game off the right flank and Billing stepped up to take set-piece and forced a good save from Franco Ravizzoli with the ball heading for the top corner.

Billing had impressed throughout the second half, finding himself in pockets of space behind Solanke. The playmaker finally got his reward with just under 20 minutes to go,  taking advantage of missed placed pass from Ravizzoli, he drove into the box, slotting the ball past the Dons keeper for Bournemouth’s third.

Parker brought on Christian Saydee for Solanke after 76 minutes and it did not take long for the young striker to grab a debut goal.

Junior Stanislas had earlier replaced Marcondes and after yet another mistake from Ravizzoli, the 31-year-old played a one-two with Brooks before setting up Saydee who was able to get his shot away from close range and open his account for the club.

Bournemouth kept the pressure going right up until the final whistle and found themselves 5-0 up when Brooks was able to grab his second of the game. Saydee provided the assist as he laid the ball off to the Welshman who again had broken free from the right hand side, driving his shot low into the far corner.

The Dons looked out of ideas in the second half and were outclassed by a much better Bournemouth side and will be disappointed with the result and performance.

Kilkenny was awarded the Man of the Match award for his tireless running and clever use of the ball in the middle of the park. Often breaking up play and showing off his passing range, it allowed the likes of Billing, Marcondes and Brooks to roam free ahead of him and exploit the space between the lines.

The young Irishman will certainly be giving Parker food for thought for the upcoming season and with the likes Ben Pearson, Jefferson Lerma and Lewis Cook all unavailable for the foreseeable future, Kilkenny looks like a ready made replacement.