U18 Premier League Cup
Arsenal 2 Flores 38 (pen.), Sassi 67 (o.g.) Burnley 2 (Hugill 48, Eastmond 85)
Arsenal U18s twice took the lead at home to Burnley in the Premier League Cup today but had to settle for a 2-2 draw.
Marcelo Flores, who again provided a significant threat, opened the scoring from the penalty spot but Burnley levelled early in the second period through Will Hugill.
Charles Sagoe Jr’s effort deflected in off Dan Sassi to restore Arsenal’s lead but substitute Tremaine Eastmond managed to secure a point for a spirited Burnley side with a late goal.
Defender Zach Awe made his first appearance of the season after recovering from injury, while Reuell Walters was back with the U18s after representing the U23s recently. Amario Cozier-Duberry, however, was unavailable.
Subs: Ibrahim (for Awe, 59). Not used: Kovacevic, Davies, Roberts, Richards.
Arsenal commenced their Premier League Cup campaign with a hard-fought win against West Ham United and they were determined to take all three points again.
There weren’t many clear-cut chances in the early stages of the game, but Mauro Bandeira did call Burnley goalkeeper Charlie Casper into action on one occasion.
At the other end Kade Ratchford sent a header wide before Arsenal responded, with Bandeira embarking upon an impressive run prior to shooting wide.
The ever-dangerous Flores then had an effort saved before turning provider for centre-back Josh Robinson, who had pushed forward to go for goal, but his effort was off target.
Arsenal goalkeeper Remy Mitchell then had to make an astute save before striker Khayon Edwards had two efforts saved in qukck succession.
Flores continued to threaten for Arsenal but Burnley posed a threat themselves and the visitors perhaps should have opened the scoring when a good chance fell to Joe Smyth-Ferguson, who dragged his shot wide.
That appeared to be a wake-up call for Arsenal, who took the lead shortly afterwards. James Sweet was fouled in the area and Flores stepped up to take the penalty, converting it calmly.
Arsenal went into the break into the ascendancy but Burnley managed to equalise early in the second half.
Sweet had played a part in Arsenal’s opening goal but unfortunately he was also partly responsible for Burnley’s equaliser as he unnecessarily played the ball back towards his own goal and Hugill took full advantage as he found the net.
Edwards shot wide as Arsenal look to immediately restore their lead, with Flores then having an effort scrambled away.
Just before the hour mark, Awe, who had been largely impressive on his return from injury, was withdrawn, with Bradley Ibrahim coming on.
Ibrahim added extra creativity to the Arsenal midfield, with Walters moving into the back three.
Edwards, who kept working hard even though he was being tightly marked by the Burnley defence, had a shot deflected wide, and then Arsenal went back in front.
Sagoe Jr had been rather quiet up until that point but he played a key part in the goal as his shot deflected in off Sassi, with Casper having little time to respond.
Mitchell then made a save as Arsenal looked to see the game out, but Burnley eventually managed to get another equaliser, with Eastmond steering the ball home following a clever switch of play.
Time was limited thereafter, and despite Arsenal’s best efforts, which included a free-kick from Tino Quamina, Burnley managed to hold on for a draw.
It was a frustrating end to the game for Arsenal, but in truth Burnley acquitted themselves well and perhaps deserved a point.
Arsenal’s effort wasn’t in question but they lacked their usual fluidity, even through Flores was dangerous in patches.
Burnley worked hard to close Edwards down, while Cozier-Duberry, who is capable of creating chances out of very little, was a big miss.
It was rather unusual that striker Amani Richards was an unused substitute as well, but there were some encouraging displays from defenders Awe and Josh Robinson, with the latter full of confidence after representing England U18s recently. Mitchell also performed well in goal.
Much of Arsenal’s attacking play involved Sweet, but at times the youngster took too long in possession.
On the positive side, though, Arsenal U18s remain unbeaten under Micciche, who will hope that his side will be able to overcome Everton in their final group game next month.