Emile Smith-Rowe made a fantastic return from injury with a stoppage-time winner as Arsenal u18s overturned a one-goal deficit to beat Norwich City 2-1 on Saturday afternoon.
After a 3-2 defeat against Fulham last time out, Kwame Ampadu made three changes – goalkeeper Joao Virginía, Tolaji Bola and Marcus McGuane were all recalled to the starting eleven.
Benny Ashley-Seal, who was previously with both Arsenal and Tottenham at academy level, broke the deadlock after 17 minutes. The Young Guns had started slowly, in similar fashion to their previous fixture and needed a good response. Luckil,y on this occasion, they didn’t concede a quick-fire double and instead, were helped by Alfie Payne’s dismissal for a second yellow card.
Arsenal’s second-half dominance eventually paid dividends with a late equaliser from an unlikely source. Zech Medley, usually a centre-back, was playing on the left wing and equalised after good build-up from fullback Jordi Osei-Tutu.
Smith-Rowe, who came on shortly after the hour mark in place of Robbie Burton, then netted a last-gasp winner in stoppage time.
The result is an important one: it sees the u18s leapfrog West Ham into third place, after they lost 2-1 themselves to Aston Villa. Reading thrashed Swansea 7-0 away from home, meaning they retain second place with race for places intensifying.