U18 Premier League- Game 3
Sunderland 1 (Greenwood) Arsenal 1 (Hinds)
A young Arsenal U18 side, reduced to ten men for the closing stages of the game, held on for a hard-earned point away to Sunderland on Saturday afternoon.
Sunderland took the lead through Rees Greenwood, but a superb finish from schoolboy Kaylen Hinds, his first at this level, ensured that it ended honours even, with Arsenal bouncing back from their disappointing defeat to Fulham last weekend.
Coach Carl Laraman’s options were considerably limited, with his starting line-up consisting of four second-year scholars, four first-years and three schoolboys. Josh Vickers returned in goal, whilst Chiori Johnson made his debut at right-back. There were also starts for Renny Smith and Elliot Wright, whilst the bench was composed entirely of U16 players.
subs: Addai, Mavididi, Olomola, Dobson, Thorbourne.
Arsenal started brightly with one of their more experienced players, Jack Jebb, shooting just wide, but Thomas Robson responded by doing likewise at the other end despite an apparent hand-ball in the build-up.
Jamaal Raage, making his first competitive appearance for the Gunners since signing in the summer, failed to find the target from distance, but Sunderland were always a threat and it was the hosts who took the lead after Rees Greenwood’s shot managed to get the better of Vickers after striking a post.
Arsenal’s response saw Austin Lipman shoot wide after Smith did well to seize possession in midfield, and, after Vickers made a good save to deny Lynden Gooch, the Gunners eventually drew level.
It was a fine finish from Hinds, a player who has caught the eye in his fleeting appearances at this level since his move from Leyton Orient a year ago.
Any designs that Arsenal had of pushing on for a victory were laid to rest when Dallison was dismissed for pulling down Gooch, and Stefan O’Connor had to make a vital late interception to prevent the same player from scoring a dramatic winner.
Arsenal host Manchester United next week.