By Connor Armstrong at Meadow Park
A youthful Arsenal XI slipped to a 3-0 defeat against Boreham Wood at Meadow Park on Saturday.
Goals from Joe Devera, Shaun Jeffers and Kenny Davis were enough to separate the two sides and secure victory for the physical home side.
Boreham Wood started strongly and went ahead after just 10 minutes, when Devera headed Daniel Uchechi’s cross home at the far post.
Donyell Malen went closest to levelling for the Gunners but the teenager was thwarted by Sam Beasant in the Boreham Wood goal.
Jeffers then added a second goal late on when he slotted the ball past Joao Virginia, before Kenny Davis scored from the spot to complete the scoring.
SETTING THE SCENE
Steve Gatting handed first-year scholar Joao Virginia a start in goal, with Hugo Keto taking up a place on the substitutes bench.
Kristopher Da Graca started alongside captain Julio Pleguezuelo at the heart of the Gunners’ defence, while Ismael Bennacer partnered Glen Kamara in midfield.
Elsewhere, Eddie Nketiah was rewarded with a start up front after scoring twice in a behind-closed-doors draw against Bournemouth last weekend.
Boreham Wood started in strong fashion, finding the back of the net after just 10 minutes when Devera headed in at the far post from a Uchechi cross.
The lively Savvas Mourgos looked to issue a reply for Gatting’s side, but saw his low fizzing effort held by Beasant.
Nketiah’s pace repeatedly caused problems for the hosts’ back line, with the forward firing over on the half-volley in the 26th minute after Malen’s shot deflected into his path.
Nketiah threatened again as he capitalised on a weak back-pass shortly before half-time, but Beasant stood firm to turn his goal-bound effort away.
Despite a brighter start from the Gunners after the interval, Virginia was forced into a diving save eight minutes into the second period to keep out Kadell Daniel’s free-kick.
The Gunners were unfortunate not to be level in the 71st minute when an impressive spin and shot from Malen forced another save out of Beasant, before the goalkeeper denied late substitute Nathan Tella with another fine stop.
With Arsenal pressing for an equaliser, the game opened up and Boreham Wood soon added a second goal, when substitute Jeffers raced through on goal and slotted past Virginia.
Two goals became three in stoppage time, when Davis sent Virginia the wrong way from the penalty spot after Jeffers had been brought down in the box at the end of a tough afternoon for the young Gunners.
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