Arsenal’s u18s tore Reading apart in their league match over the weekend with a 6-2 victory, increasing their unbeaten run in all competitions.
The young side haven’t lost since October, a run of 13 matches, but this was one of their most emphatic victories yet. Zak Swanson set the tone, opening the scoring after just eight minutes, set up by Jordan McEneff.
Four minutes later, the u18s doubled their lead, as Matt Smith set up Folarin Balogun.
16 minutes into the match it was 3-0, as Tobi Omole set up Josh Benson. With three different goalscorers and three different assist providers, Reading didn’t know where to look.
The only way the hosts could get back into the game was by taking the game to Arsenal. Thierry Neves pulled one back in the 20th minute for 3-1, and after that the goals dried up for the remainder of the opening period.
In the second half, Balogun turned provider for Swanson’s second and Arsenal’s fourth. Then Benson also swapped scoring for assisting, first setting up Balogun for a brace of his own, then assisting Robbie Burton for 6-1.
Tommy Stevens scored a consolation for Reading in the final minute, but by that point the result was long since decided.
The result is a massive confidence boost ahead of Arsenal’s FA Youth Cup quarter-final against the same opponents. Hopefully the young Guns can pull off a similar result in that match.
Line up: Virginia; Clarke, Ballard, Medley, Omole; M. Smith, Benson; Olayinka, McEneff, Swanson; Balogun
Subs: Burton (for McEneff), Spencer-Adams (for Ballard).
Not used: Barden, Thompson, Beckford.