Our Under-18s played out an entertaining 4-3 win against Norwich City at London Colney on Saturday.
Will Sweet gave us the lead with an early header, but Errol Mundle-Smith pulled one back for the visitors before netting his brace to put Norwich 2-1 up. Harrison Dudziak headed in for 2-2 before half-time.
Michal Rosiak scored a free-kick and Kamarni Ryan added another in the 81st minute to make it 4-2, before La’Sean Sealey scored a consolation goal late on.
A perfect beginning
The game couldn’t have started any better for us. From a Rosiak corner, Sweet headed home his second goal for the U18s to give us an early lead.
We could have made it 2-0 moments later, Luis Brown’s cross resulting in a goalmouth scramble, but the Canaries were able to clear the danger.
Norwich didn’t look like a side that had failed to pick up a point in the league though, and they equalised in the 16th minute when Alfie Pinyoun played a quick free-kick to Miles Bracking, catching us off guard. His cross was met by Mundle-Smith, who tucked the ball into the bottom left corner first time for 1-1.
Eight minutes later, Mundle-Smith scored his second in style, getting on the end of a long ball over the top of our defence and lobbing it into the back of the net from distance.
Theo Julienne shot just over the bar from long range at the other end as we looked for a way back into the game, but it was Dudziak who would find it for us.
Turning it around
Arriving at the far post to head home from Osman Kamara’s delivery, Dudziak equalised for 2-2.
He then had a strike from the edge of the area tipped over the bar by Henry Bullen, before Rosiak had a free-kick deflected wide for a corner.
Bless Akolbire headed over the bar from a Rosiak cross before Pinyoun bent a free-kick into the side netting at the other end as the two sides went into the half-time break level.
Jack Wilshere made one change at half-time, replacing Akolbire with Louie Copley.
There was then a triple change with half an hour remaining as Ryan, Seb Ferdinand and Omari Benjamin came on for Dudziak, Mason Cotcher and Daniel Oyetunde respectively.
It was a quiet second half until the 65th minute, when Rosiak did what he often does, scoring a free-kick to give us a 3–2 lead.
Norwich had a free-kick flicked wide by the head of Finlay Corke before Luis Brown tried his luck from long range, Bullen getting down to his left to make the catch.
With nine minutes remaining, two of our substitutes combined as Benjamin crossed for Ryan to tap in and seemingly finish the job at 4-2.
Benjamin was hungry for more but could only cushion the ball onto the roof of the net from Rosiak’s cross, before Benjamin then cut in from the left and curled wide of the far post.
There was a late moment of doubt for us when a ball into our penalty area fell kindly for Sealey, who put it in for 4-3, but Norwich were unable to create another opportunity and we held onto all three points.
WHAT IT MEANS
We’re now seventh in the U18 Premier League South with 15 points from nine games.
After the November international break, we travel to Derby County Football Academy to take on the Rams in the U18 Premier League Cup, where a draw would see us advance to the knockout stages of the competition.
Following that, league football returns to London Colney with the visit of Fulham on Saturday, December 16.
Arsenal: Okonkwo, Julienne, Kacurri, Sweet, Brown, Rosiak, Dudziak (C) (Ryan 61), Akolbire (Copley 45), Oyetunde(Benjamin 61), Cotcher (Ferdinand 61), Kamara.
Substitutes (not used): Cooper.
Norwich City: Bullen, Ofori-Manteaw, Djedje, Keita, Bracking (Rowland 75), Thompson, Simbai, Ozcan, Sealey, Mundle-Smith (Corke 66), Pinyoun (Ougbo 66).
Substitutes (not used): None.
Goals: Arsenal - Sweet (3), Dudziak (35), Rosiak (65), Ryan (81), Norwich City - Mundle-Smith (16, 24), Sealey (90+4)
Bookings: Arsenal - Benjamin (70), Norwich City - Djedje (41)
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