U18 Premier League Cup
Stoke City 2 (Toure 10, Collins 46) Arsenal 4 (Amaechi 3, Smith Rowe 67, Burton 75, M. Smith 89)
Arsenal U18s produced a spirited performance to overcome their Stoke City counterparts with a 4-2 away victory today, with Emile Smith Rowe the standout performer for Kwame Ampadu’s team.
Ampadu made two alterations to the side that thrashed Tottenham Hotspur 6-0 last weekend, with Smith Rowe and Zech Medley replacing Bukayo Saka and Dominic Thompson.
Subs: Okonkwo, Olayinka, Spencer-Adams, Beckford, Thompson.
Xavier Amaechi has been in superb form since returning from injury and the creative starlet continued in that vein as he opened the scoring in the third minute after being found by Josh Benson.
However, the lead lasted just seven minutes as Stoke pulled level courtesy of Abdoulaye Toure, whose effort got the better of Arsenal goalkeeper Joao Virginia.
Arsenal assumed control of the game thereafter, with Trae Coyle, who was again deployed up front, seeing a shot saved before Amaechi came close to doubling his tally.
Smith Rowe was also a threat but Stoke were still dangerous at times themselves and hit the crossbar in the closing stages of the first half through Luis da silva.
Stoke took the lead early in the second half when Nathan Collins found the net.
Arsenal were determined to respond and they almost did so through Amaechi, who had an effort saved.
Smith Rowe was becoming increasingly influential and, after being thwarted on a couple of occasions, the winger’s persistence eventually paid off as he made it 2-2 with a fine individual strike.
Virginia had to make a fantastic save to preserve parity and then Arsenal took the lead, with Robbie Burton scoring what proved to be the decisive goal of the game.
There was still time for Arsenal to score again as Smith Rowe teed up the ever-improving Matt Smith to make it 4-2.
Despite their impressive victory Arsenal must wait for the outcome of the other game in this group, between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Manchester United, to discover whether they will progress in this competition.