Our under 18s hosted visitors Aston Villa in their penultimate U18 Premier League fixture on Saturday afternoon.
Jack Wilshere’s side headed into the game sitting in 11th place in the U18 Premier League South Division having secured 20 points in 21 games, which ultimately meant we needed a win to secure the three points that could potentially propel us into ninth place ahead of West Brom and Southampton, but with both teams also playing their respective penultimate fixtures, our young Gunners needed luck to be on their side.
We last met Aston Villa in the reverse fixture back in October 2022, where the hosts defeated us 3-1 through goals from Kobei Moore, John McDowell and an unfortunate own goal from Arsenal left back, Elian Quesada. Villa forward, Charlie Lutz was also shown a red card after 93 minutes.
Hoping to turn that defeat into a victory on Saturday afternoon, we started the first half on the right foot. Our young Gunners dominated for the full 45 minutes providing ample opportunities to take the lead but shots from Michal Rosiak, Maldini Kacurri, Ismael Kabia and Seb Ferdinand all found themselves falling just wide of the goal or tipped over for a corner.
With everything level going into the break, we pushed hard to dictate the second half. Almost instantly Rosiak found himself on the receiving end of a Myles Lewis-Skelly pass outside of the box but his shot, again, fell agonisingly wide.
Things took a quick turn at 59 minutes when Luis Brown brought down Aston Villa’s Travis Patterson in the area to give away a penalty. Finley Munroe stepped up to the spot and slotted the ball straight down the middle of the goal to give the visitors the lead.
The one-goal deficit didn’t dampen our young Gunners spirits, however, with Ethan Nwaneri getting on the end of a Rosiak cross inside the box, doing well to find space and find the back of the net to bring us level after 75 minutes.
10 minutes later, Nwaneri found the back of the net again, when a ball in from Ferdinand on the right fell to his feet where a slick spin on the Villa defender allowed him plenty of time to tuck the ball neatly into the bottom corner.
WHAT IT MEANS
The result sees us propel into ninth place, ahead of West Brom, Southampton and Norwich City.
Our next game sees us play our final fixture of the season as we travel to Southampton’s Staplewood Campus to face the Saints on Friday May 5, 2023.
Kick-off is at 12pm (UK).
Arsenal: Okonkwo, Nichols, Kacurri, Brown (c), Ismail, Lewis-Skelly, Rosiak, Dudziak (Copley, 88), Ferdinand, Kabia (Claremont, 69), Nwaneri
Subs not used: Ranson, Heaven
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