Arsenal Under-18s were held to a 0-0 draw by Southampton at London Colney on Saturday.
Kaylen Hinds had three good chances to win all three points for the young Gunners while Marius Barnes duelled with Josh Vickers at the other end, but, somehow, the game finished goalless
Frans de Kat made four changes to the side that beat Fulham 3-2. Vickers replaced Ryan Huddart in goal while Tyrell Robinson’s return saw Chris Willock drop to the bench. Michel Parker and Savvas Mourgos came in for Elliot Wright and Josh da Silva.
Both sides struggled to play their quick passing games in the wet and blustery conditions, and the young Gunners made the first mistake.
Jon Centeno lost out to Joe Lea who threaded through Barnes, but the striker’s shot flew just wide.
Robinson then threatened at the other end. The winger beat Josh Debayo on the right-hand side to pick out Stephy Mavididi, who headed over from six yards minutes before the break.
Southampton flew into the second half and nearly took the lead through Barnes, but Vickers reacted spectacularly to tip over the striker’s close-range back heel.
Even Hinds’ introduction could not break the deadlock. The in-form striker picked out Willock who fed Robinson, but he lashed over from just inside the box.
Robinson then turned provider for Hinds at the end of a brilliant Arsenal passing move that started inside their own half. The winger cut inside from the right and floated in a cross for Hinds to head inches wide.
The flames the striker had been running on before the game may have been temporarily extinguished by Saturday’s rainfall because, after being picked out four yards from goal by Aaron Eyoma, he missed the target again.
Despite all of Arsenal’s possession and craft, it was Southampton who had the best chance to steal a winner. Calum Slattery rolled the ball across the six-yard box but Barnes could not lift his shot over the onrushing Vickers.
Right at the end, breaking from yet another Vickers save, Hinds had his final opportunity to get his name on the scoresheet. He drove into the area, beating two, before his close-range shot was blocked by Harry Isted’s legs.
De Kat said: “It was a tough game. Like last week, we were too deep in the first half so the pitch was too big, and then we had some problems getting the ball and keeping it. The second half was a little bit better.
“We couldn’t break Southampton down today because we didn’t attack that well in the first half. We were better and had more chances in the second half but sometimes the magic is not there - I told them that could happen and it happened today.”
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