We were held to a 1-1 draw on the road by West Ham United in the U-18 Premier League south on Saturday.
Key players Ben Cottrell and Joel Lopez missed out through injury, following their impressive showing against Aston Villa last week, while Luke Plange once again made the difference off the bench.
The Hammers started the stronger side and were ahead after just six minutes, when Dan Chesters pounced on a defensive mistake and rounded Hubert Graczyk to fire into an empty net.
Moments later Ken Gillard was forced into making two early substitutions, with Sam Greenwood and Jason Sraha picking up injuries. This should have disrupted our flow even further, but by the end of the first half we were dominating play with Matthew Dennis and Catalin Cirjan coming close to an equaliser.
Following the break, Graczyk made a fine save to deny Adrian Akande, before substitute Plange regained possession on the halfway line, charged at the Hammers’ defence and fired a stunning curling effort into the top left corner from 20 yards.
It was no less than our youngsters deserved.
WHAT IT MEANS
Gillard’s side will host Southampton at Arsenal Training Centre on Saturday, August 31.
Kick-off is at 11.30am (UK time). Access by invitation only.
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