Former Arsenal academy teenagers Dominic Thompson and Bayli Spencer-Adams impressed in their first FA Cup starts on Saturday.
Thompson and Spencer-Adams left Arsenal for Brentford and Watford respectively over the summer. Neither have featured very often at senior level since then, slowly working their way into the team with their new clubs, but they both got a chance on Saturday.
Dominic Thompson – Brentford 1-0 Stoke
Thompson joined Brentford after impressing for Arsenal in pre-season, with the Gunners signing Kieran Tierney to fill the left-back spot. He quickly made his first start in the League Cup, but unfortunately, his new team lost to Cambridge United on penalties.
After that, he had to be patient. He made the squad on 17 different occasions in the Championship, but he’s only up to five minutes of game-time so far. Brentford’s run near the top of the table makes it tough to break in.
An FA Cup game against Stoke City saw him back in the starting lineup though. He did well at wing-back, helping his team keep a clean sheet and winning the free-kick which Brentford scored from directly.
Thompson ended up having to come off in the 85th minute with a knock. He suggested afterwards it was just cramp, having been out of the team for so long. The fans seemed pleased with his performance.
Well played today, good that we have you ready and waiting in the wings for that opportunity.
— HeadlessBee 🔴⚪️⚫️ (@pjheadless) January 4, 2020
Well played Dom. Thought you had an excellent game 🙌
— James Wheeler (@Wheels_1980) January 4, 2020
We liked what we saw…you’ll get your chance to shine 🐝😊
— Bee Positive BFC (@bfc_bee) January 4, 2020
Cracking performance today, well done squire.
— ad ward (@adward152no) January 4, 2020
Bayli Spencer-Adams – Watford 3-3 Tranmere
Spencer-Adams made the move to Watford after the expiration of his contract with Arsenal. The academy had a buildup of centre-backs in his age group, and a serious injury held him back last season.
Thankfully, another Premier League side picked him up. Like Thompson, Spencer-Adams had to wait for his chance with new club Watford, but he got the call to make his senior debut on Saturday. They faced Tranmere at home in the FA Cup.
A 3-3 scoreline doesn’t sound like best for a centre-back, but it’s important to note Watford were 3-1 up with 13 minutes to go when Spencer-Adams came off.
The general consensus is that he was one of the more impressive performers on the day. He did also end up with a bit of cramp, like Thompson. That’s competitive first-team football, I guess.
— Shannon Fas (@Shannie1203) January 5, 2020
Well played today bud. Defo one for the future!! Coyh 🐝🐝🐝
— Si Parris (@jessaroo12) January 4, 2020
You played very well lad, on that showing you have a very bright future ahead of you – well done!
— Jerry Ladell (@Jelboy37) January 4, 2020
Omer Riza, the assistant coach for the Watford u23s, also seemed pleased:
— Omer Riza (@Oriza8Riza) January 4, 2020
There’s still a lot of work to do for both players, but this is a positive first step.