By Max Jones at Meadow Park
Arsenal Under-19s were beaten 2-1 by Anderlecht in the Uefa Youth League at Meadow Park on Tuesday.
The Belgian side showed clinical finishing when Samuel Bastien gave them the lead inside five minutes, but Dan Crowley continued his fine goalscoring run to equalise.
Ryan Huddart then produced two spectacular saves before he was unlucky to see his parry fall to Jorn Vancamp, who headed into the empty net to give Anderlecht a second group-stage win over the Gunners.
SETTING THE SCENE
Steve Gatting and Frans de Kat made three changes to the side that lost 4-3 in Belgium last time out.
Huddart’s inclusion saw Bradley House drop to the bench, while there were also starts for Marc Bola and George Dobson, who replaced Chiori Johnson and Elliot Wright in defence.
Crowley scored a hat-trick in the Gunners’ late comeback two weeks ago, but Anderlecht held out to join Arsenal and Galatasaray at the top of Group D on six points.
After going behind within two minutes in Belgium, Arsenal would have wanted to avoid conceding early. However, that is exactly what happened when Bastien rolled into the bottom corner in the fifth minute.
The hosts did threaten back when Stephy Mavididi headed Crowley’s free-kick straight at Mile Svilar before Alex Iwobi blazed wide from the edge of the box.
The hosts found their target eventually and, after combining with Chris Willock on the edge of the box, Crowley latched on to the forward’s backheel and curled into the bottom corner.
Arsenal began the second half in a similar way to the first and were grateful to Huddart when he made a brilliant diving save to parry away Frank Mikal’s goalbound effort.
The young goalkeeper then produced his best save of the game as he reacted quickly to beat Jorn Vancamp’s powerful drive over the crossbar.
Fortune changed quickly for Huddart, though, who saw his diving stop from Nathan de Medina’s cross headed in by Vancamp as the visitors regained the lead.
Arsenal piled on the pressure in the final minutes but Anderlecht held out after they brought on an extra defender and Svilar denied Iwobi and Dobson right at the death.
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