Academy

U-18s: Arsenal 1-0 Aston Villa - Report

SUMMARY

James Olayinka’s first-half strike was enough for our under-18s to claim their first victory of the season at London Colney on Saturday.

The midfielder won possession after some dangerous passing on the edge of the Villans’ area, before expertly finishing with his left foot.

Daniel Ballard went close to adding a second but could only find the side netting after Emile Smith Rowe’s nod down.

SETTING THE SCENE

Kwame Ampadu handed Joao Virginia a start in goal, with a defence of Vontae Daley-Campbell, Zech Medley, Joseph Olowu and Tobi Omole.

Ballard partnered Benson in central midfield, with Olayinka on the right flank and Smith Rowe on the left.

Robbie Burton lined up behind forward Folarin Balogun.

FIRST HALF

Ballard’s vision soon saw him pick out the run of Balogun, who turned away from his marker and then won a tussle for the ball before sending a low strike into the side netting.

Tobi Omole then played a perfectly-weighted pass into the left channel for Smith Rowe, but he was denied by the legs of the goalkeeper.

Olayinka opened the scoring shortly before the interval, sending a rising effort into the top of the net after capitalising on a defensive mishap.

SECOND HALF

Olayinka then looked to tee up Ballard, but the 17-year-old could only fire into the side netting.

Smith-Rowe nodded down an Olayinka cross from Josh Benson not long after, but the midfielder blazed his effort over the crossbar after racing on to the ball.

Armstrong Oko-Flex had the game’s last clear chance, but saw his effort thwarted after Folarin Balogun’s blocked volley had broken into his path.

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