By Nik Brumsack
Arsenal Under-18s recorded their second successive win after beating Norwich 3-0 at London Colney on Saturday - despite playing almost the entire second half with defender Isaac Hayden in goal.
Josh Vickers suffered a nasty-looking injury just after half-time and Hayden was called upon with no replacement goalkeeper on the Arsenal bench.
First-half goals from Austin Lipman and Jon Toral had given Pat Holland’s side a two-goal cushion at the break.
And Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill made the game safe halfway through the second half when he added a third.
Holland made four changes from the team that beat Everton 2-1 last time out. Leander Siemann, Thomas Dallison, Arinse Uade and captain Toral came into the side.
Ormonde-Ottewill lined up in an unfamiliar role on the right-hand side of midfield while Lipman occupied the lone front role.
The home side started well and took the lead after just five minutes when Lipman curled a shot from the edge of the area into the top corner, following fine interplay between Alex Iwobi and Jack Jebb.
Arsenal doubled their lead midway through the first half with a goal of the highest quality.
Iwobi was again involved, floating a delightful through-ball into the path of Toral. The Spaniard took one touch to control, before audaciously lobbing the ball over Remi Matthews in the Norwich goal.
Those two combined again 10 minutes before the break. This time Toral played the role of provider, slipping in Iwobi whose effort was well saved by Matthews.
The home side were rampant and, after Jebb released Lipman, only a fine last-ditch tackle prevented him from getting a shot away.
Norwich began to come into the game just before half-time, and could have halved the deficit when Henry Randall’s shot was cleared off the line by Dallison.
Arsenal suffered a blow just after the restart when Vickers was injured collecting a low ball. With the goalkeeper unable to carry on and no substitute on the bench, Hayden donned the gloves.
The home side looked comfortable despite Vickers' injury and came close to extending their lead on the hour mark. Ormonde-Ottewill set off on a jinking run and his low ball in just evaded an Arsenal shirt.
Norwich were unable to test Hayden and Holland’s team made the game safe halfway through the second half. Ormonde-Ottewill cut in from the left before firing an unstoppable shot past Matthews.
The away side came close to getting a consolation with 10 minutes to go. Zac Fagan headed substitute Dominic St Louis’ header off the line, before the striker headed the rebound against the post.
- Vickers 50
- Ormonde-Ottewill Goal!
- Toral (C) 69 Goal!
- Iwobi 69
- Lipman Goal!
- Hayden 50
- Mugabo 69
- Jeffrey 69
- McGeehan (C) 72 Yellow Card
- Vidal 77
- Louis 77
- Eaton-Collins 72