Hitchin Town 2 Arsenal 1 (Osei-Tutu)
Jordi Osei-Tutu found the net but an Arsenal XI were beaten 2-1 by a spirited Hitchin Town side in a pre-season friendly tonight.
With a stronger team set to face Boreham Wood tomorrow, Arsenal gave opportunities to several of their younger academy starlets tonight and, although they impressed in patches, the result was ultimately a disappointing one.
Tafari Moore, who, at the age of 20, was Arsenal’s most experienced player, captained the side, while there was also a run-out for Nathan Tormey, who signed his first professional contract today.
Osei-Tutu, meanwhile, was deployed as a right-winger, a position in which he thrived for his previous club Reading.
First-year scholar Folarin Balogun started up front with several other members of the new intake on the bench.
Subs: Virginia, Ballard, Burton, Benson, Omole, Thompson, Amaechi, McEneff, Clarke, Olayinka.
Arsenal created some inviting chances early on but neither Balogun or Tormey were able to find the net.
It was Hitchin, though, who were on top for much of the first half and Zech Medley had to be alert to clear one effort off the line.
Arsenal goalkeeper Hugo Keto was alert to make a good stop on one occasion but the Finland youth international was unable to prevent Liam Brooks from opening the scoring in the 30th minute with a neat finish.
To their credit, the young Gunners responded, with Osei-Tutu finding the net from a difficult angle just before the break.
The sides were level for just three minutes, however, with Dan Webb heading in from a corner to restore Hitchin’s lead.
Arsenal gradually started to make changes, with Joao Virignia replacing Keto and later new signing Jordan McEneff coming on for Tormey, who caught the eye as he looks to build up his fitness after spending most of last season on the sidelines.
Osei-Tutu remained an attacking threat for Arsenal and had a shot saved, while Charlie Gilmour’s effort was pushed out for a corner but it was still Hitchin who remained in the ascendancy and who seemed more assured.
Arsenal made further changes as the game drew to a close, with the sprightly James Olayinka causing problems for the Hitchin defence, but the hosts held on to secure victory.