U18 Premier League
Arsenal 6 (Balogun 3, 18, 35, John-Jules 28 (pen), Coyle 55, Greenwood 58 Norwich City 2 (Clarke o.g. 53, Dickson-Peters 85 (pen))
Folarin Balogun scored a first-half hat-trick as Arsenal U18s continued their title challenge with an emphatic 6-2 victory at home to Norwich City today.
Coach Ken Gillard made just one alteration to his side and it came in goal, with Arthur Okonkwo regaining his starting berth at the expense of Tom Smith.
Subs: Alebiousu (for Balogun, 62), Dennis (for John-Jules, 62), Matthews (for Cottrell, 70). Not used: T. Smith
As they often do, Arsenal started in the ascendancy and they opened the scoring with just three minutes gone when Balogun got his first goal of the game after being found by Tyreece John-Jules.
In the 18th minute Balogun struck again, with Trae Coyle providing the assist on this occasion as Arsenal took full control of the game.
John-Jules, who is continuing to build up his fitness, then made it 3-0 from the penalty spot before turning provider for Balogun, who completed his hat-trick in the 35th minute to take his tally for the season to 16 goals in 13 league games.
Norwich managed to get a goal back when Harry Clarke inadvertently put the ball into his own net, but Coyle soon proceeded to make it 5-1 to Arsenal, with Balogun setting him up.
Sam Greenwood, another regular goalscorer at this level, then made it 6-1 as he slotted the ball beyond the reach of former Gunners goalkeeper Daniel Barden.
With the victory secured, Balogun and John-Jules were taken off, with first-year scholars Ryan Alebiousu and Matthew Dennis entering the fray, while later on Alfie Matthews got a run out as he came on for Ben Cottrell.
A late penalty from Thomas Dickson-Peters saw Norwich reduce the deficit slightly but the game was long since over as a contest, with Arsenal taking all three points.
With Tottenham Hotspur beating West Ham United, Arsenal remain one point above their north London rivals at the top of the league, although Tottenham still have a game in hand.