Jimi Gower’s second-half strike was cancelled out by a late Bradley Moonan header in a 1-1 draw away to Everton in Premier League 2 on Friday night.
Toffees on top
Everton had a great chance to take the lead in the very first minute of the game, as Gower gave the ball away in a dangerous area. Katia Kouyate latched onto it but smashed the ball onto the crossbar.
Tayler Foran was then dispossessed, allowing Francis Okoronkwo to run through on goal, but he shot straight at Ovie Ejeheri.
Everton worked a corner out to Jenson Metcalfe, who struck towards goal with power, but again it was straight at Ejeheri.
Gunners growing into it
Our first chance of the game came in the eighth minute, Gower’s corner headed over the bar by Foran.
Gower tried his luck from the edge of the area after creating a bit of space for himself, but the shot was straight at Billy Crellin, who made a comfortable catch.
Jack Henry-Francis began to pull the strings for us midway through the first half, playing a one-two with Gower and sending the ball out wide to Amario Cozier-Duberry on the left. He cut inside and saw his shot blocked behind for an Arsenal corner, which amounted to nothing.
A high press saw Gower win possession and poke the ball through to Khayon Edwards, but Crellin rushed off of his line to smother.
Ejeheri was on hand at the other end to punch clear a corner from Metcalfe and catch the rebound from Luke Butterfield
We came closest to the breakthrough when Edwards teed up Lino Sousa, who in turn played in Gower. Turning to shoot on his left foot, Gower fired wide of the bottom right corner.
With half-time approaching, Metcalfe put a dangerous delivery into our penalty area, but Ejeheri was able to parry the ball away for an Everton corner, which our keeper got a hand on again.
Reull Walters had a shot saved right on the brink of half-time and the two sides went into the break goalless.
Gower’s good fortune
We broke the deadlock in the 56th minute when Gower, receiving the ball from Cozier-Duberry, had a go for goal from outside the penalty area. The ball deflected kindly off the back of Ryan Astley’s head and into the net to give us the lead.
Foran switched the play brilliantly over to Cozier-Duberry on the left and he put in a good crass that just evaded Edwards, who was lurking at the far post.
Cozier-Duberry hit the ball into the side netting before Tyler Onyango broke through at the other end, only for Ejeheri to narrow the angle and keep the clean sheet intact.
Everton chasing the equaliser
Kouyate’s cross fell for Isaac Heath, who leathered the ball at Lino Sousa as we conceded a corner with 20 minutes remaining. The following set-piece was headed on by Okoronkwo and scooped wide by Bradley Moonan.
We came agonisingly close to making our lead more comfortable when Miguel Azeez, seconds after coming off the bench, rocketed the ball off the crossbar on his left foot.
Cozier-Duberry crashed another shot into the side netting from the left and Heath had a shot deflected wide at the other end, but the home side’s pressure paid dividends when Metcalfe’s corner was headed in by Moonan.
Six minutes were played at the end of the 90, but neither side were able find a winning goal. Edwards came closest, stinging the palms of Crellin when he attempted to squeeze the ball in from a tight angle.
WHAT IT MEANS
We drop down to fourth in Premier League 2, Middlesbrough rising to third following their 4-1 win at home to Stoke City.
A number of players from Mehmet Ali’s squad will be eligible to feature in our Under-19s’ second group game of the UEFA Youth League when they take on RC Lens at the Stade Daniel Leclerq on Tuesday afternoon.
The Under-21s will then be back in EFL Trophy action against Exeter City on Tuesday, October 10, before returning to Premier League 2 football against Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday, October 29.
Everton XI: Crellin, Dixon, Hunt, Astley (Moonan 64), Campbell, Butterfield, John (Heath 46), Onyango (Higgins 81), Okoronkwo (Patterson 91), Metcalfe, Kouyate
Substitutes (not used): Barrett
Arsenal XI: Ejeheri, Walters, Foran, Monlouis, Sousa, Ibrahim, Henry-Francis (Azeez 71), Gower, Sweet, Edwards, Cozier-Duberry
Substitutes (not used): Graczyk, Ismail, Oyetunde, M’Hand
Goals: Everton - Moonan (84), Arsenal - Gower (56)
Bookings: Arsenal - Azeez (79), Ibrahim (79), Foran (80)
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