By Lloyd Webb at Meadow Park
Jack Wilshere scored his first goal in 11 months but Arsenal Under-21s missed out on automatic promotion with a 2-1 defeat to West Bromwich Albion.
Steve Gatting’s side required three points to secure their place in Division One, but now face a play-off match.
Joe Ward gave West Brom the lead after seven minutes when he poked home a loose ball, before Wilshere equalised in the second half with a powerful volley.
But Samir Nabi’s crisp finish condemned Arsenal to defeat, after Dan Crowley’s late free-kick rattled the post.
Setting the scene
Gatting made four changes to the side that lost to Swansea City four days earlier.
Tomas Rosicky was replaced by Marcus McGuane in midfield, while Crowley, Ben Sheaf and Chiori Johnson were all included in the starting XI.
The Gunners started the game on the front foot, as Serge Gnabry tested Alex Palmer with a low drive.
But the visitors punished them four minutes later on the counter, when Ward stabbed the ball home after Macey had done well to deny Rahis Nabi.
Jeff Reine-Adelaide almost provided Gatting’s side with an instant reply, but his shot shaved the post after he had broken forward from midfield.
Gnabry had a golden chance 20 minutes later but, following a clever dummy, he dragged his shot inches wide.
Reine-Adelaide and Crowley came close to equalising with efforts from outside the box, but Arsenal went into the break a goal down.
Andre Wright almost doubled the Baggies’ lead with an acrobatic volley after the hosts were caught napping.
But Wilshere soon showed the fans what they had been missing when he delicately brought the ball down in the box before firing a volley over Palmer to equalise.
Sheaf then came close to giving Arsenal the lead with two powerful efforts from outside the box, although both flew wide of the post.
As the Gunners piled forward in search of a winner, they were caught on the break when Nabi reacted first and prodded the ball past Macey.
There was more drama to come, as Crowley’s free kick hit the woodwork while Gnabry and substitute Donyell Malen were inches away from levelling matters.
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