In a remarkable display, our under-21s secured their first EFL Trophy victory of the season with a stunning second-half performance, emphatically defeating League One side Exeter City 5-0.
In the second half we witnessed a goal-scoring spree, with Charles Sagoe Jr, Khayon Edwards, Jack Henry-Francis and Seb Ferdinand all finding the back of the net. This remarkable scoring frenzy allowed us to convincingly rout the Grecians.
The game initially kicked off in a scrappy manner, with the home team attempting to apply pressure. However, our defence stood firm, and Ovie Ejeheri expertly commanded his box.
Our first significant opportunity arose when Bradley Ibrahim played a pass to Cedric on the right-hand side, but his shot was pushed out for a corner. As the first half progressed, we began to find some joy in Exeter's half, coming close to taking the lead through inventive work from Ibrahim, whose deflected effort struck the crossbar.
Just before the half-time whistle, the hosts appeared to find the back of the net, but James Scott was ruled offside from Mitch Beardmore's cross.
After the halftime break, we started brightly and nearly broke the deadlock when James Sweet displayed brilliant dribbling skills to manoeuvre his way into the box. Unfortunately, his shot was saved by Kevin MacDonald in the hosts' net.
The turning point came just after the hour mark when Sagoe Jr opened the scoring. A splendid team move saw Henry-Francis make an excellent overlapping run and deliver a precise pass across the box, allowing Sagoe Jr to tap home.
With just over ten minutes remaining, we doubled our lead. Sagoe Jr won the ball and set up Ferdinand, who unleashed a brilliant low effort to find the bottom corner.
Moments later, we added a third goal. Ferdinand delivered a perfect pass to Edwards, who tapped it home from close range.
Despite already leading by three goals, our relentless pursuit continually paid off. Henry-Francis fired a long-range shot that took a favourable deflection, trickling its way into the bottom corner.
Ferdinand capped off a brilliant cameo off the bench with a carbon copy of his first goal, firing a perfect shot into the bottom corner from the edge of the box.
The match showcased a fantastic attacking performance by our young Gunners, who went away with all the all-important three points.
WHAT IT MEANS
Our win over Exeter City confirms our place in the competition's knockout stages with still a game to play.
We move up to five points and remain second just a point behind Reading.
Our final match against Reading on Tuesday, November 14, will decide who finishes top of the group.
Following the international break, our under-21s are back in Premier League 2 action at home to Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday, October 29.
Kick-off at Meadow Park is at 2pm (UK).
Arsenal XI: Ejeheri (Hillson, 63), Cedric (Ferdinand, 68), Foran, Monlouis, Heaven, Sweet, Ibrahim, Henry-Francis, Dudziak (Edwards, 68), Gower (Oulad M’Hand, 84), Sagoe Jr.
Substitutes (not used): Ismail, Ryan, Oyetunde
Goals: Sagoe Jr (61), Ferdinand (78, 90+6), Edwards (83), Henry-Francis (90)
Bookings: Henry-Francis (9), Sweet (54)
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