By Connor Armstrong
Our under-23s suffered their first Premier League 2 defeat since early December after conceding a late goal at Everton on Monday night.
Reiss Nelson went closest for the Gunners when he forced a save out of Mateusz Hewelt with a powerful angled drive.
Vlad Dragomir also tested the Everton stopper, but his thumping effort from range was held.
The hosts eventually took their chance, with substitute Nathan Broadhead finding the game’s only goal just four minutes from time.
SETTING THE SCENE
Steve Gatting was able to call upon Emi Martinez, with the Argentinian goalkeeper donning the gloves in the North West.
Carl Jenkinson also started, in a back four completed by Ben Sheaf, Joseph Olowu and Cohen Bramall.
Nelson partnered Josh Dasilva in central midfield, with Savvas Mourgos, Dragomir and Chris Willock playing behind Donyell Malen.
Yassin Fortune was among the substitutes after scoring for the under-18s against Fulham on Saturday.
Both sides were tested by the elements at the Merseyrail Community Stadium, as the game was affected by strong winds and heavy rain which led to the pitch cutting up from the off.
Nelson went close with an early low strike, only for Hewelt to produce a save.
Hewelt stood firm to deny Nelson once more shortly before the interval.
There was a test for Martinez just moments later, when Matthew Foulds intercepted the ball and charged upfield before taking aim – but the Arsenal keeper responded superbly to save.
Everton stepped up after the interval, with Kieran Dowell and Anton Donor combining before Dowell saw his shot saved by Martinez.
Duffus then spurned a glorious opportunity to open the scoring when he blazed over from 12 yards out.
Sam Byrne was next to go close after winning the ball and charging through before forcing Martinez into a save.
The game’s winning goal came with little time for the Gunners to respond, with Dowell picking out substitute Broadhead to fire low into the bottom corner to earn the Toffees the victory.
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