Swindon Town 2-2 Arsenal U21: (Gunners win 5-4 on pens to grab a bonnus point)
Arsenal U21s travelled along the M4 to take on Swindon Town at a sunny County Ground on Tuesday evening in the EFL Trophy.
Mehmet Ali’s Young Guns were aiming to build on their excellent start to Premier League 2 after swatting aside West Ham (3-0) and Leicester City (4-1) on successive Friday’s at Meadow Park this month.
Ethan Nwaneri started once again, following on from his hattrick against the Young Foxes as Boreham Wood last week. Another hugely promising prospect Amario Cozier-Dunberry also started, after training with Mikel Arteta’s first team squad recently.
Yet it was the League Two side that started well, with Robins No24 Jacob Wakeling driving down the visitors right flank uninterrupted before squaring the ball across Karl Hein’s area. Unfortunately for Reuell Walters, the Gunners defender turned the ball into his own net to put Swindon 1-0 ahead.
Unbowed Ali’s side began to settle and display their quality against the fourth tier side, with Arsenal levelled on 11 minutes through Lino Sousa’s header. The equaliser came after Nwaneri steered the ball to the Lisbon-born 18-year-old following James Sweet’s cross.
While Hein has already made his first team debut, he never fully convinces. Evidence of which, alas, culminated in ceding a goal after a slip at the Emirates during his first start, against Brighton in last season’s Carabao Cup prior to the World Cup. Unfortunately the Estonian international was at it again, spilling an easy ball in his box, to give Robins No19 Tariq Uwakwe the easiest of chances to make it 2-1.
Despite plenty of possession in the second half, along with a series of Robins’ last-gasp blocks, interventions and misses the score remained 2-1 as the clock ticked down, leaving the majority of the 3,352 crowd set to savour a win over Premier League aristocrats, albeit junior ones.
That was before a late Jimi Gower equaliser to make the score 2-2 after a breathless match in which Ali’s side will have learnt the importance of reducing unenforced errors and taking their chances – not least substitute Khayon Edwards when he fired over when well placed deep into the six minutes time added on at the end of the second half, before spot-kick drama at the end.
Arsenal beat Swindon Town 5-4 on penalties to get the bonus point after a lively 2-2 draw here at the County Ground Flores ?Cozier-Duberry ?Khayon Edwards ?Ethan Nwaneri ?James Sweet ?While Karl Hein saved from Benn Ward ?— Layth (@laythy29) August 22, 2023
Find out who impressed with our Player Ratings:
Karl Hein: 5/10 - The Estonian international has already made his debut for the first team but will be looking for more senior action to banish the unfortunate memory of his first outing that culminated in a 3-1 home defeat by Brighton. Unfortunately he made a hash of an easy ball and spilled it to Robins No19 Tariq Uwakwe, who slotted home from close range to make it 2-1
James Sweet: 7.5/10 - Took the corner that led to Sousa’s goal. In excellent form this term and will have benefitted from the experience against the League Two side
Zane Monlouis (c): 7/10 - An intelligent presence in the backline to produce a solid performance
Reuell Walters: 6.5/10 - Unfortunate own goal to start the game
Lino Sousa: 7.5/10 - Well aimed header in a crowded box to equalise for the Young Guns
Bradley Ibrahim: 7/10 - Booked for kicking the ball away in the second half
Myles Lewis-Skelly: 7/10 - Linked up well with Nwaneri but shot cleared off the line
Ethan Nwaneri: 7.5/10 - An assist for Lino Sousa’s leveller but not as influential as he normally can be – wasn’t for lack of effort however
Charles Sagoe Jnr: 7.5/10 - Showed quick feet to feed Butler-Oyedeji, whose shot was cleared off the line following Sagoe’s effort moments earlier that was blocked by Robins keeper Lewis Ward. Robins keeper Ward saved a low drive moments after the interval. Earned his ovation for his work rate after he was subbed for Flores
Amario Cozier-Duberry: 8/10 - A genuine first team prospect after once again being seconded by Mikel Arteta to train with the first team squad this month, on the back of being taken to America for the pre-season tour. Fired a left-footed chance narrowly over the crossbar moments before the interval and had a chance cleared off the line. On the end of some agricultural challenges from desperate Swindon bodies attempting to hijack his runs, but the 18-year-old showed he was tough enough to take it, while displaying an excellent temperament not to respond.
Nathan Butler-Oyedeji: 7/10 - First half shot cleared off the line. Excellent movement on and off the ball as he aimed to unsettle the Swindon backline between the lines. Fired straight at keeper Ward when well placed midway through the second half
Jimi Gower: 7.5/10 - On for Ibraham and grabbed a late equaliser to continue his good form this term
Marcelo Flores: 7/10 – Replaced Sagoe Jnr late on
Khayon Edwards: 5/10 - Should have scored with moments remaining