The under-18s were back in Youth Alliance at a wet Energy Check Training Ground on Saturday where they took on an AFC Bournemouth side.
Despite twice falling behind to a strong visiting side, the under-18s hit back twice with goals from Aaron Basford and Aaron Evans-Harriott.
However, coach Pete Haynes young side, which included four under-16s in the starting line-up, couldn’t hold and Bournemouth added two goals late on.
The game started with both sides exchanging periods on the ball, but it was the visitors who took the lead when striker Luke Pardoe finished a good passage of play.
But the under-18s responded immediately, with Evans-Harriot supplying the cross for Basford to head in his 7th goal in 8 games.
Cheltenham had chances to put themselves ahead in the game, but the away side again took the lead when Ben Greenwood curled a free-kick past Freddie Lapworth.
Both sides had chances to add to their tally before the break, with Callum Ebanks going close for the under-18’s after being sent clear by Tom Chamberlain but the half-ended 2-1.
A tactical change from Haynes at half-time which saw Joe Hunt enter the fray paid off immediately when Evans-Harriott equalised less than a minute into the half.
With twenty minutes to go Haynes introduced 14-year-old striker Fin Jenner who has impressed for the under-16s this season.
Cheltenham had a chance to take the lead when Chamberlain fed through Basford, but the striker couldn’t add to his first goal.
The away side eventually took the lead when substitute Khavarn Williams scored from the edge of the area.
Evans-Harriott nearly levelled the game for the third time, but his free-kick struck the side netting.
And the game was decided moments later when Williams added his second of the game to secure the three points for Bournemouth.
Speaking after the game coach Haynes praised his sides performance.
“Bournemouth are a very good team, who do really well in possession, so it is always a really good test. It was a good thing they scored after 15 minutes because it kicked us into life and we responded straight away with a well worked goal,” he said.
“It was the first time we looked after the ball and worked a good opportunity. After that, we worked the goalkeeper, hit the post and did everything but score which was frustrating for the players.”
“We asked the players to impose themselves on the game second half and it was a great reaction with Aaron Evans-Harriott adding another goal to his tally so far this season.”
Haynes added that the performance was a credit to his young side, saying:
“In our opinion, Bournemouth are the best team we play as a footballing team who can compete also, so credit to our players for the way we competed for 75 minutes with four under-16s, five first year scholars and three second year scholars starting the game.
“A special mention also to Fin Jenner who came on for the last 20 minutes, he’s a centre forward who has been doing really well for the under-16s and deserved his chance with the youth team.”
Take a look through the picture gallery from Saturday's game above. All photographs were taken by Ben Clark.