U23 Report: Arsenal 0-0 Saints

By SFC Media Fri 14 Oct Arsenal U23 vs Saints U23
Fri 14 Oct 7.00PM
Premier League 2
Arsenal
0
Southampton
0
Referee: Alan Young | Venue: Meadow Park | Attendance: 0

Southampton Under-23s moved to within a point of leaders Everton at the top of Premier League 2, as they earned a 0-0 draw at Arsenal.

Saints, who were under the eye of coach Radhi Jaïdi, turned in a strong display at Meadow Park, but in the end had to accept a share of the points.

The result does, however, continue what has been an encouraging start to the campaign, extending the team’s current unbeaten run to four matches in Premier League 2.

Jaïdi oversaw a particularly young side for the game, although he was able to include centre-half Florin Gardos in the team.

The Romania international played 45 minutes, as he stepped up his return from injury, and denied Ainsley Maitland-Niles as early as the fifth minute with an excellent block on the edge of the six-yard box.

Chances were few and far between in the opening half an hour, with Siph Mdlalose having an effort deflected wide for Saints, while Jake Hesketh had to track back well to make a fine tackle that stopped Eddie Nketiah getting away a shot following a quick Arsenal break.

The Gunners went close on 31 minutes, as Stephy Mavididi flashed a shot from 20 yards just wide of the far post.

But Saints went even closer a minute later, as Thomas O’Connor’s sumptuous free-kick from 20 yards just brushed past the upright.

The post was well and truly struck in added time at the end of the first half, as a thunderous effort from Arsenal’s Gedion Zelalem thudded against the woodwork.

Still, there was to be no breakthrough, and the sides went in level.

That was where the evening ended for Gardos, as he was replaced by Ollie Cook at the back.

Harry Reed tested Arsenal keeper Matt Macey shortly after the interval with a low strike from 20 yards, after shifting a free-kick to O’Connor, but the Gunners stopper got down to gather it.

At the other end, Alex McCarthy was forced into a few stops, diving low to his left to stop Ismael Bennacer’s free-kick, before then keeping out Nketiah’s shot on the turn.

With 18 minutes left on the clock, Josh Sims threatened down the inside-right, but could only plant his shot into the side netting.

Saints’ second change came in the 77th minute, as Hesketh picked up a knock and was replaced by Callum Slattery.

The visitors had a glorious opportunity with four minutes left on the clock, as Mdlalose’s clever flick sent Tyreke Johnson clear, but his lob over Macey dropped just the wrong side of the post.

Johnson had another chance deep into added time, when Yan Valery’s long pass picked out his run, but his first-time shot from just inside the box was well saved by Macey.

Moments later, Johnson again threatened to sprint clear, but he was forced to shoot early under pressure and fired wide, as the points were shared.

Arsenal

1
Matt Macey (GK)
2
Carl Jenkinson
Chiori Johnson (69′)
3
Marc Bola
4
Ainsley Maitalnd-Niles
5
Ben Sheaf
6
Krystian Bielik (C)
7
Ismael Bennacer
Donyell Malen (74′)
8
Gedion Zelalem
9
Stephy Mavididi
10
Eddie Nketiah
11
Chris Willock
12
Chiori Johnson
13
Hugo Keto
14
Josh Da Silva
15
Vlad Dragomir
16
Donyell Malen

Southampton

1
Alex McCarthy
2
Yan Valery
3
Jake Vokins
4
Harrison Reed (C)
5
Florin Gardos
Ollie Cook (46′)
6
Alfie Jones
7
Siph Mdlalose
8
Thomas O'Connor
9
Tyreke Johnson
10
Jake Hesketh
Callum Slattery (77′)
11
Josh Sims
12
Ollie Cook
13
Adam Parkes
14
Callum Slattery
15
Harlem Hale
16
Jonathan Afolabi
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