Northampton Town 1 (Hoskins 82) Arsenal 1 (Olayinka 78) (Northampton win 4-3 on penalties)
Arsenal U21s’ first game in the newly-rebranded Leasing.com Trophy this season didn’t go to plan, with Steve Bould’s side finishing with ten men and losing on penalties following a 1-1 draw.
The dismissal of substitute Tobi Omole in the 61st minute for two bookable offences made matters difficult for Arsenal, but they still managed to take the lead through James Olayinka.
Northampton, however, pulled level courtesy of Sam Hoskins and then proceeded to win on penalties, with Emile Smith Rowe missing the decisive spot-kick.
Arsenal will still take a point from the game, with their opponents being awarded a bonus point.
There were a host of alterations from the Arsenal U23 side that beat Everton on Friday. Goalkeeper Matt Macey made his first appearance at any level this season, replacing James Hillson, while Joseph Olowu came in for Rob Holding.
Olayinka, Jordan McEneff and Nathan Tormey also started in place of Robbie Burton, Tyreece John-Jules and Bukayo Saka. First-year scholars Miguel Azeez and Mazeed Ogungbo were named on the bench.
Subs: Omole (for Bola, 30), Burton (for McEneff, 73), Ogungbo (for Swanson, 84). Not used: Hillson, Azeez, John-Jules.
Hoskins looked cause problems for Arsenal early on, but at the other end Tormey, who scored against Everton, saw an effort from distance saved.
McEneff and Smith Rowe then tried their luck in quick succession, but Arsenal suffered a blow when Tolaji Bola, who has only just returned from a lengthy spell on the sidelines, had to be substituted and was replaced by Omole.
Hoskins forced Macey into a good save and the 26-year-old then drew a foul from Omole, who was booked.
Smith Rowe had to help out defensively in the closing stages of the first half, but Arsenal held on to ensure that it was goalless at the break.
Arsenal had their first meaningful effort of the game in the 55th minute, with Trae Coyle’s powerful effort being saved by Andrew Fisher.
Tormey then hit the side-netting with an effort, but disaster struck for Arsenal as Omole was dismissed when he received a second yellow card for a challenge on Hoksins.
The latter was continuing to cause all sorts of problems for Arsenal, with Macey pressed into action again.
Arsenal sent Burton on in place of McEneff and they eventually took the lead with Olayinka slotting home after he was teed up by Smith Rowe.
The lead lasted just four minutes, however, and it was no surprise that it was Hoskins who pulled the hosts level as he sent the ball beyond the reach of Macey.
Substitute Chris Lines looked to have won the game for Northampton late on, but his effort went just over.
Smith Rowe then went for goal but the game finished 1-1 and then went to penalties.
Coyle missed his spot-kick as Arsenal got off to a bad start, but Burton, Tormey and Balogun all scored.
Macey saved from Charlie Goode to give Arsenal hope, but Smith Rowe missed.
Arsenal’s other two group games in this competition are against Peterborough United and Cambridge United.