By Connor Armstrong
Arsenal Under-18s were denied all three points against Fulham after conceding a late penalty at London Colney.
Josh Dasilva fired Kwame Ampadu’s Gunners into the lead in the 81st minute with a left-footed free-kick which whipped inside the near post.
But just four minutes later, the Cottagers hit back when John Dagur Thorsteinsson sent Daniel Barden the wrong way from 12 yards after Zach Medley had fouled Isaac Pearce.
Arsenal remain in top spot in the table, but their has been lead cut to just one point by the chasing pair of Chelsea and West Ham United.
SETTING THE SCENE
Ampadu lined up with Barden between the posts, with Finnish goalkeeper Hugo Keto - who was on the bench for the Under-23s’ draw with Southampton - among the substitutes.
Medley made his first under-18s appearance of the season, partnering up with Joseph Olowu in the heart of the Arsenal defence.
Marcus McGuane captained the side and was joined in central midfield by Dasilva.
Donyell Malen led the attack, supported by Joe Willock, Trae Coyle and Emile Smith-Rowe.
In a tight opening 45 minutes with little in the way of chances, both sides had one clear opportunity to find the game’s opening goal.
Smith-Rowe nearly broke the deadlock, rattling a low effort against the post after Willock had swapped passes with Coyle.
Thorsteinsson then threatened for the visitors, dancing past a number of challenges before Barden rushed off his line to snuff out the danger.
Thorsteinsson was proving to be a thorn in the side of the Gunners, and was at the heart of Fulham’s promising attacks. He raced clear of Jordi Osei-Tutu before squaring the ball for Jayden Harris, but he was denied by Barden.
Coyle’s drifting runs were posing problems for the Cottagers, and he won a free-kick just outside the area in the 81st minute. Dasilva assumed responsibility for the dead ball, and duly whipped the ball inside the near post.
Fulham looked to be down and out, but were handed a reprieve when the referee pointed to the spot after Medley shoved Isaac Pearce to the ground.
Thorsteinsson converted the spot kick, meaning both sides would share the points.
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