CHERRIES suffered a late 2-1 defeat to European champions Chelsea in the final pre-season game before competitive action on Saturday.

Emiliano Marcondes had headed home from close-range to give the home side the lead deep into the second-half, after both sides has squandered opportunities to get on the scoresheet throughout.

That lead lasted merely minutes before Blues substitute Armando Broja latched onto Baba’s cross and converted himself from yards out though, before Ike Ugbo headed home from a corner.

Lloyd Kelly captained the Cherries side, which saw a sub appearance from trialist Kyle Edwards in the second period.

Cherries defender Steve Cook was spotted in the dugout pre-match, while Parker arrived looking suave in a crisp white jumper and shirt – assistant Matt Wells donning an active tracksuit and lugging boots, perhaps illustrating that working dynamic.

There was to be no action for new signing Leif Davis against a Chelsea side that included the likes of Hakim Ziyech, who struck a hat-trick against Peterborough in a prior warm-up fixture.

Blues striker Tammy Abraham could have had the ball in the net inside the opening thirty seconds after he was afforded too much time in the area, but for a stuttered tackle by skipper Kelly.

A clever backheel from David Brooks nearly unlocked the visitors on the right-hand side but the overlapping Jack Stacey couldn’t keep it in play and fire a ball across.

Straight up the other end, Ziyech watched his curling effort from inside the area whistle past the post as Chelsea’s class and composure opened up the erratic Cherries defence.

Cherries’ best early chance came courtesy of a cute pass in behind by Brooks, who exhibited a number of good touches, but Dominic Solanke was denied by a Blues slide.

Mark Travers was then called into action to deny Abraham a certain goal from close-range, although in truth it was hit straight at the stopper – before the frontman missed another golden opportunity minutes before the break.

Dujon Sterling picked up the only yellow of the game after he folded Kyle Taylor with a robust challenge – one that was met with jeers and suggestions of something more substantial by the returning Cherries faithful.

Cherries should have gone ahead moments into the second period after Brooks snatched the ball off of Connor Gallagher and strolled through on goal. Sub keeper Edouard Mendy stood the winger up and with as much time as he could ask for, Brooks swept narrowly wide.

It then could have been a dream start for Edwards after Stacey’s pull-back found the trialling winger yards out, but his point-blank effort was stopped brilliantly by an outstretched Mendy.

Chelsea had made wholesale changes before Marcondes gave Cherries the lead with just over 20 to play, following clever work from Gavin Kilkenny in midfield, Brooks and then Stacey’s pull-back, which deflected for him to head from close-range and let the crowd erupt.

But Broja equalised just minutes later after a tentative tackle out wide allowed a Chelsea attack to continue and Baba the opportunity to pick out one of two Blues shirts in the area, finding the Albanian frontman.

Ugbo then added the header from Ross Barkley’s corner to snatch the advantage and ensure the travelling European Champions’ victory.

Cherries: Travers; Stacey (75), Ibsen Rossi, Kelly (C) (80), Smith (60); Billing (80), Kilkenny, Marcondes (80); Brooks (72), Taylor (h-t), Solanke (80)

Subs: Edwards (h-t), Camp (75), Zemura (60), Greenwood (80), Moriah-Welsh (80), Glover (80), Saydee (72), Surridge (80), Dennis (g/k)

Chelsea: Kepa; Sterling, Baker, Sarr; Hudson-Odoi, Drinkwater, Gallagher, Alonso (C); Ziyech, Pulisic, Abraham

Subs: Baba, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek, Broja, Zappacosta, Miazga, Chalobah, Ugbo, Clarke-Salter, Mendy