By Nik Brumsack at London Colney
Arsenal Under-18s rounded off 2012 in style with a convincing win over Blackburn Rovers at a wet and windy London Colney on Friday afternoon.
Steve Gatting was able to name a strong side for the visit of Blackburn. He made four changes from the team that had lost to Reading last time out, with under-21 regulars Chuba Akpom and Isaac Hayden recalled to the side.
The game started quietly, with both sides struggling to create an opportunity in testing conditions.
It was the visitors that made the first chance after 17 minutes. Dean Rittenburg turned in the area before hitting a low shot that was blocked on the line by Hayden. Undeterred, Rittenburg then went close again just five minutes later, forcing Josh Vickers into a save from close range.
That seemed to galvanise Arsenal, and after Akpom and Lipman had both gone close, they opened the scoring on the half-hour mark.
Hayden won the ball midway inside the Blackburn half, before feeding Lipman, whose measured pass was well controlled and then clinically finished by Dawkins.
Akpom nearly doubled the lead after 35 minutes, but after getting clear of the Blackburn defence his placed shot hit the post and rebounded to safety. The striker then saw a dinked effort cleared off the line as Gatting’s team poured forward in search of a second goal.
And they would get it just before the break. Akpom was again involved, running at the defence before laying the ball off to Iwobi, whose deflected shot left David Raya with no chance.
Jordan Brown, on for Dawkins, came close to extending the lead yet further, before Modou Cham’s sublime volley from 20 yards was excellently tipped over by Vickers.
Blackburn were pressing, and only a brave block by Hayden kept substitute Luke Wall out, before Cham hit the crossbar direct from a corner.
But just as the visitors were starting to come back into the match, Arsenal killed it off.
Brown did well down the left, holding off two men before releasing Ormonde-Ottewill. The full-back burst towards the byline and steered a low shot past Raya from a tight angle.
Arsenal weren’t finished there though, and soon added yet another goal.
Bellerin, on as a substitute, picked the ball up on the halfway line before gliding through two tackles and planting a superb strike into the top corner. The young Spaniard has enjoyed an encouraging start to the season, with this strike showcasing his vast potential.
Uade added the gloss to what was a very satisfying performance in stoppage time, poking past Raya after a corner had not been cleared.
- Ormonde-Ottewill Goal!
- Uade Goal!
- Iwobi 67 Goal!
- Dawkins 46 Goal!
- Lipman 67
- Bellerin 67 Goal!
- Olsson 67
- Brown 46
- Wassi (C)