U18 Premier League
Brighton & Hove Albion 3 (Turns 19, Emmerson 37, 46) Arsenal 2 (Hutchinson 45, 90)
Arsenal U18s were beaten by their Brighton & Hove Albion counterparts today despite the best efforts of Omari Hutchinson, who scored a brace.
Coach Ken Gillard made one alteration to the side that beat West Ham United, with Mauro Bandeira replacing James Sweet in midfield. Mazeed Ogungbo continued to captain the side, while Catalin Cirjan received another run out. Khayon Edwards was named amongst the substitutes again despite his winner against West Ham.
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Brighton started well and took the lead in the 19th minute, with Ed Turns finding the net.
The hosts were 2-0 up in the 37th minute as Zac Emmerson scored, but Hutchinson managed to get a goal back for Arsenal just before half time as goalkeeper Hubert Graczyk set him up.
Brighton responded well after the break, however, with Emmerson getting his second goal of the game in the 46th minute.
Arsenal brought on Sweet for Jack Henry-Francis and later introduced Zach Awe in place of Taylor Foran, who was on a yellow card.
It looked as if the game was drifting away from Arsenal but Hutchinson gave Gillard’s side late hope when he scored a penalty in the second minute of stoppage time, with substitute Edwards having won the spot kick.
However, there wasn’t long enough left for Arsenal to get another goal and they ended up falling to a defeat, with Brighton going ahead of them in the table.
Arsenal, who are now in sixth place, return to action next weekend when they host West Bromwich Albion.
It was rather surprising that Edwards wasn’t introduced until very late on today, with Nathan Butler-Oyedeji continuing, rather bizarrely, to be deployed as a central striker despite his lack of goalscoring prowess and the fact that he is better suited to playing as a winger.
The continued development of Hutchinson, though, is a major positive for Arsenal. The Hale End product has seven assists for the U18s this season and has demonstrated that he is also capable of finding the net himself. It may not be too long until he makes a full breakthrough into the U23 side.
Arsenal: Graczyk; Norton-Cuffy, Foran (Awe, 79), Monlouis, Ogungbo; Henry-Francis (Sweet, 57), Bandeira; Hutchinson, Cirjan, Ideho (Edwards); Butler-Oyedeji. Subs not used: Mitchell, Jeffcott.