By Giuseppe Muro at Meadow Park
Arsenal youngsters continued their 100 per cent pre-season record as Boreham Wood were comprehensively brushed aside on Friday night.
They did concede their first goal of the summer when Mario Noto’s clever free-kick gave Boreham Wood a shock early lead but that merely stung the young Gunners into action.
Sanchez Watt’s turn and shot had the Arsenal XI level within a matter of minutes and Luke Freeman poked home from close range to put the visitors ahead just short of the half-hour.
A sumptuous long-range drive from Henri Lansbury had the game sewn up before the break and debutant Serge Gnarby headed a fourth to guarantee another welcome pre-season win. Kyle Ebecilio got in on the act and Watt completed his hat-trick late on to ensure a rout.
The game at Meadow Park was the first of three fixtures in as many days for Arsenal fans to look forward to and, as well as providing a nice prelude for this weekend’s Emirates Cup, is another sign that the new season is edging ever closer.
Fresh from his trip to Germany with the first team, Benik Afobe stayed with the senior boys and will be hoping for a chance to impress at the annual summer tournament, but it was Boreham Wood and not Boca Juniors on the agenda for an enthusiastic crowd tonight.
Freeman carved out the first chance in the opening minute when his rasping low drive stung the palms of goalkeeper Michael Jordan. Arsenal were on top from the off and Lansbury headed inches wide from Jernade Meade’s inch-perfect centre soon after.
But, with their first meaningful sight at goal, Boreham Wood went ahead. Talisman Noto’s quick free-kick from the edge of the area caught everyone in a red shirt unawares and, before you knew it, Arsenal were trailing.
Given the Gunners’ lightning start, it was hardly surprising that they were level within two minutes.
Lansbury’s stinging drive proved too hot for Jordan to handle and when the ball fell to Watt 12 yards out, he shifted the ball onto his favoured left foot before thumping home an equaliser.
Honours even, then, but Arsenal looked the side most likely to seize control. They did exactly that just short of the half-hour.
Chuks Aneke profited from some generous defending before feeding Watt and, when his powerful effort was only batted away as far as Freeman, the former Gillingham man was left with the simple task of poking home from a yard.
The visitors were clearly technically superior and, as they moved through the gears, the Conference South side struggled to cope with their more-established opponents.
Lansbury’s thunderbolt had Jordan beaten all ends up from 30 yards and Arsenal were cruising by the interval.
We got a first glimpse of Gnarby in an Arsenal shirt after the break and the German youth International ghosted in unmarked to nod in a free-kick after 69 minutes to make it four.
Another substitute, Ebecilio, swept home Sead Hajrovic’s cross 60 seconds later and Watt added two more to wrap up another straightforward win for Banfield’s boys.
The Arsenal XI conclude their pre-season programme on Wednesday when the squad travel to Dover Athletic looking to complete an unblemished summer.
- Meade 59
- Galindo 59
- Watt Goal! Goal! Goal!
- Lansbury Goal!
- Ozyakup 59
- Freeman 46 Goal!
- Gnarby 46 Goal!
- Angha 59
- Brislen-Hall 59
- Ebecilio 59 Goal!
- Jordan 80
- Brathwaite 61
- Garrard 45
- Hunter 61
- Palmer 45
- Chaaban 73
- Noto Goal!
- Wilkinson 80
- Bryant 73
- Effiong 45
- Scott-Morris 73
- Baker-Owers 80
- Akinola 45
- Yala 61
- Kamara 80
- Walker 61
- Ruddock 73