By Max Jones at New Bucks Head
Arsenal Under-21s were held to a 2-2 draw at New Bucks Head after Wolverhampton Wanderers came back from two goals behind.
It will have left a bitter taste in the mouths of the young Gunners who looked so in control during the first half.
Alex Iwobi opened the scoring when he tapped in from a corner routine before Dan Crowley arrowed a 25-yard free-kick into the top corner.
Declan Weeks pulled one back for the hosts on the stroke of half-time and Albert Torras completed the comeback in the 66th minute to send Arsenal back home with a point.
SETTING THE SCENE
Steve Gatting made two changes to the side that lost 3-1 against Bolton Wanderers.
Renny Smith came in for Tyrell Robinson while Ainsley Maitland-Niles replaced Isaac Hayden to line up alongside his fellow first-team squad members, Gedion Zelalem and Chuba Akpom.
Elsewhere, Chiori Johnson - who like Robinson has signed his first professional contract with Arsenal - retained his place at right back.
Wolves fielded some familiar faces too. Former Chelsea youngster Connor Hunte provided a threat going forward while 33-year-old Sam Ricketts added plenty of experience to the hosts’ back line.
Arsenal showed glimpses of their quality throughout the first half. Crowley and Akpom combined on the left with deft one-touch passes but the playmaker’s through-ball ran away from Zelalem in the box.
Moments later the young Gunners took the lead after another of the clever corner routines that are becoming synonymous with Gatting’s side. Crowley found Semi Ajayi on the edge of the box and his first-time strike was turned in by Iwobi at the near post.
Arsenal’s following set-piece was a free-kick 25 yards out and, with very little run up and back lift, Crowley hammered his strike into the top corner.
Wolves did pull one back before the break when Matt Macey parried a powerful strike as far as Weeks, who curled into the bottom corner, but the Gunners took a deserved lead into half-time.
The late first-half goal gave the home side confidence and they were on the front foot after the restart, with Bradley Reid wasting two good chances to equalise.
First Hunte’s found him unmarked at the back post with an inch-perfect cross but the forward somehow missed the gaping net before tricking his way into the box and smashing wide again.
It was Reid’s replacement who finally levelled. Having come on seconds earlier, Donovan Wilson made an instant impact, bursting past two defenders to find Torras in the box, and he made no mistake from eight yards.
Akpom and Maitland-Niles both missed opportunities to steal the three points but the best opening fell to substitute Jordi Ortega, whose shot from four yards was heroically blocked by Macey.
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