U18 Premier League
Arsenal 1 (Donovan) Southampton 2 (Willard (2))
Arsenal U18s fell to their third loss in succession as they were beaten by Southampton at London Colney today, with the disappointing nature of the defeat compounded by the fact that both of the visitors’ goals were scored by a Hale End Academy product in Harley Willard.
Arsenal were playing their first game at this level since the 6-0 defeat to Newcastle United a fortnight ago. There were several changes to the starting line-up, with Elliot Wright, who is set to be released when his scholarship deal expires next month, replacing Toby Omole at centre-back, whilst Harry Donovan, Savvas Mourgos and Nathan Tella also returned to the team.
Subs: Keto, Omole, Gilmour, J. Willock.
Southampton, who, in addition to Willard, also named fellow former Gunners Chris Regis and Olufela Olomola in their starting line-up, began the game brightly, with Callum Slattery and Stuart Wilkin both missing chances.
Their dominance was soon rewarded, with Willard opening the scoring with a fine strike that Arsenal goalkeeper Ryan Huddart was unable to keep out.
Arsenal, to their credit, fought hard to equalise and they did just that when Donovan did well to finish for his third goal of the season.
However, Southampton were back in front before the break after Regis’ pass found Willard, who scored his second goal of the game.
Arsenal showed some determination in the second-half, with Southampton thankful that their goalkeeper Jake Hallett was able to make two impressive saves in quick succession to deny the young Gunners.
Despite their best efforts, Frans De Kat’s side still fell to their 15th defeat in 28 league matches this season.
Arsenal conclude their season with a trip to face Fulham next week as they seek to avoid the ignominy of finishing bottom of the third tier of the U18 Premier League.
* via @AFCFixtureNews + @tje93