Report – Charles Sagoe Jr scores late winner as Arsenal U21s edge Newport County in thriller

Papa John’s Trophy – group stage

Newport County 3 (Greenidge 19, Abraham 62, Fisher 68) Arsenal U21s 4 (Hutchinson 33, Salah-Eddine 53, Olayinka 86, Sagoe Jr 90)

Substitute Charles Sagoe Jr scored a dramatic late winner as Arsenal U21s beat Newport County 4-3 tonight to get the first win of their Papa John’s Trophy campaign.

There were seven goals in total in an entertaining encounter, with Omari Hutchinson, Salah-Eddine and James Olayinka also getting on the scoresheet for Arsenal, who showed impressive determination to take all three points.

Coach Kevin Betsy was deprived of the services of Omar Rekik, who is on international duty, and Ben Cottrell, who is out injured. Hubert Graczyk is also sidelined, which meant Ovie Ejeheri started in goal. Zane Monlouis, meanwhile, was back available.

Ejeheri

Monlouis-Swanson-Ogungbo

Alebiosu-Olayinka-Salah Eddine-Lopez

Hutchinson-Ideho-Taylor Hart

Subs: Foran (for Monlouis, 74), Edwards (for Taylor-Hart, 78), Sagoe Jr (for Ideho, 87). Not used: Mitchell, Walters, Akinola, Butler-Oyedeji.

Arsenal lost 2-1 to Swindon Town in their opening group game and were determined to fare better on this occasion.

However, it was Newport who started the brightest, with Lewis Collins shooting over.

Arsenal were finding it difficult to play the ball out from the back in the early stages and were almost punished on one occasion before Ryan Alebiosu saw a shot saved at the other end.

Kido Taylor-Hart was the next to try his luck, but the winger was also denied.

Shortly afterwards Newport took the lead as Jordan Greenidge finished well.

Newport then sought to make it 2-0, with Kevin Ellison’s effort rattling the crossbar.

Arsenal managed to equalise in the 33rd minute and Omari Hutchinson was the scorer with a well-placed finish.

Ejeheri had to be alert to tip an effort over the crossbar to ensure that the two sides were level going into the break.

In the second half Arsenal went ahead for the first time in the game and it was an impressive goal as Salah-Eddine continued his excellent recent form by scoring a free-kick.

Mazeed Ogungbo then shot wide for the Gunners before Timmy Abraham equalised for Newport after coming on as a substitute as his effort deflected in.

Another substitute, Alex Fisher, put Newport 3-2 up with an emphatic strike, but Arsenal refused to give in.

Olayinka, who has enjoyed something of a resurgence at youth level in recent weeks, pulled Arsenal level and then Sagoe Jr provided the game’s decisive moment having been teed up by fellow substitute Khayon Edwards.

It was an excellent show of spirit from Arsenal, with the result boosting their chances of progressing to the knockout stages of the tournament going into their final group game against Plymouth Argyle next month.

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