Our under-18s wrapped up the 2022/23 season with a 5-1 defeat to Southampton at the Staplewood Campus in their final U18 Premier League fixture.
The first half was far from a quiet affair with an early goal from Dominic Ballard to put the Saints ahead after just six minutes played. The deficit didn’t last for long, however, when a free kick from Michal Rosiak on the right found Luis Brown, whose header was parried at Ismeal Kabia to comfortably strike into the back of the net to bring us level after 17 minutes.
Osman Kamara presented Seb Ferdinand with a chance to make it two for us when a great play on the left saw him find Ferdinand in the box but the shot fell just wide.
With 10 minutes to spare before half-time, Kamara once again found himself making a great run from inside his own half where he managed to get into the Southampton box but his attempt to convert was agonisingly denied.
Southampton’s Princewill Ehibhatiomhan found himself with a certain goal-scoring opportunity just before the break but a brilliantly-timed tackle from Maldini Kacurri prevented the Saints from taking the lead, and the scores remained level going into the break.
It didn’t take long for the second half to spice up, when another Ballard goal put the hosts ahead at the 47-minute mark, after just two minutes of play, and the Saints forward almost claimed his hat-trick at 53 minutes but his left-footed strike flew just over the bar.
Two minutes later, Omari Benjamin attempted to claw one back for us when he caught the Southampton keeper, Joshua Jeffries, off his line but his chip from 30 yards found itself go ever-so-slightly over.
Another chance for an equaliser came when a cross from Josh Nichols evaded Benjamin in the middle of the box but found Kamara at the back post, although his effort, too, went just over the crossbar.
A hat-trick for Ballard looked more and more likely as the minutes ticked by, before the inevitable happened at the 63-minute mark, and that prompted the hosts to up the ante.
A goal from Samuel Amo-Ameyaw in the 80th minute gave the Saints four, with a fifth quickly following at 84 minutes courtesy of Jay Robinson.
WHAT IT MEANS
The result sees us slip down one place to 10th, securing 23 points from 22 games.
That’s a wrap for our U18s fixtures this season but you can catch the U21s in action against Manchester City tomorrow, May 6, 2023.
Kick-off is at 1pm (UK).
Arsenal: Rojas (Kovacevic, 85), Nichols (Copley ,85), Kacurri, Brown, Ismail, Rosiak, Ferdinand, Dudziak, Kabia (Heaven, 85), Kamara, Benjamin (Clairmont, 85)
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