By Connor Armstrong
Goals from Eddie Nketiah, Donyell Malen and Trae Coyle saw our under-18s notch up a second straight win as they beat Reading on Saturday.
Prolific forward Nketiah scored the game’s opener after 20 minutes, with a strike that was his 19th in 23 games this season.
Ben House levelled for the Royals before the break, but the visitors were reduced to 10 men following Ade Shokunbi’s 66th-minute red card.
Males re-established the Gunners’ advantage in the 75th minute, before Coyle put the game beyond the reach of Reading in the closing moments.
SETTING THE SCENE
Joao Virginia started in goal for the visit of the Royals, with Alex Crean on the bench.
Jordi Osei-Tutu, Joseph Olowu, Kostas Pileas and Tolaji Bola made up the back four.
Marcus McGuane partnered Josh Dasilva in midfield, with Yassin Fortune, Vlad Dragomir and Malen behind Nketiah.
Coyle started from the substitutes bench, alongside Joe Willock, Charlie Gilmour and Zech Medley.
The Gunners enjoyed a strong start to the game and surged into the lead when Fortune seized upon a slack pass to slot in Nketiah, with the forward guiding a low strike into the far side of goal.
Reading pulled themselves level when a corner dropped to the feet of House, after miscommunication between Virginia and his defence led to a missed clearance, and he fired in.
Cameron Green then saw a powerful drive cannon behind off the crossbar as the visitors grew into the game.
The second period began in controversial circumstances when a challenge from Fortune concluded with the fouled Shokunbi headbutting Olowu - earning himself a red card.
Nketiah then went close to adding a second goal, but after combining with Malen he could only curl a shot over.
When the second goal did eventually come, it was an example of the very best type of fast-paced counter-attacking play. Malen charged from within his own half before playing the ball wide of Bola, who then provided a perfectly-weighted pass for Malen to sweep home from close range with his left foot.
With just two minutes remaining, the win was secured as Dasilva found Coyle and the forward stroked a low effort into the net.
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