We earned a hard-fought point in the Premier League 2 with a 1-1 draw against Blackburn Rovers on a windy Saturday afternoon in Leyland.
Charles Sagoe Jr opened the scoring inside 10 minutes, wrong-footing Joe Hilton in the Blackburn goal with a clever finish at the near post after Matt Smith's line-breaking pass.
The hosts responded well to the early setback, Harry Leonard testing Hubert Grazcyk with a header at the back post, before Jared Harlock looked certain to score an equaliser, but for Zach Awe's heroic defensive intervention.
Mehmet Ali's side regained control of the half, with Smith and Mauro Bandeira beginning to dictate the tempo in midfield, the latter impressing with several forceful runs from deep.
Khayon Edwards, making just his second appearance since returning from a long-term injury, twice went close to doubling our advantage before the break.
We started the stronger of the sides after the restart with Bandeira's dipping free-kick almost handing us the perfect start, but his effort went just over Hilton's bar.
Smith then came close as we continued to impose ourselves onto Blackburn, our skippers' strike saved well by the feet of Hilton after some intricate link-up play inside the area.
Blackburn threw caution to the wind in the closing stages in search of a leveller, with Grazcyk forced into a number of impressive stops to preserve our lead.
The hosts' pressure finally paid off in stoppage time when Leonard bundled the ball past Grazcyk from close range after we failed to deal with Tayo Edun's low delivery.
WHAT IT MEANS
We move up one place to sixth in the Premier League 2 table, with 28 points after 20 matches played.
We return to Premier League 2 action on Friday, March 31, when we face Manchester United.
Kick-off at Old Trafford is at 7pm (UK).
You can watch the match LIVE on Arsenal.com and the app from 6.55pm (UK).
Starting XI: Graczyk, Sweet, Monlouis, Awe, Jeffcott, Smith, Bandeira, Cirjan, Cottrell, Sagoe Jr, Edwards
Substitutes: Cooper, Nichols, Ibrahim, Gower, Kamara
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