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Report: Arsenal U21s 1-2 Villa U21s

Stat pack: Trio impress for Villa Press Conference updates: Garde pre-West Ham recap
Report: Arsenal U21s 1-2 Villa U21s


Rushian Hepburn-Murphy was the late hero again as his goal sealed victory for our youngsters over Arsenal at a wet and windy Meadow Park.

Jerell Sellars had given Villa a first half lead but Donyell Malen's penalty levelled the scores.

Jack Grealish and Tiago Ilori both played 90 minutes while Adama Traore also featured in what was a disciplined display from start to finish.

Neither team were undeterred by the tough playing conditions and produced an entertaining spectacle for those in attendance.

Stephy Mavididi was a threat down the left flank and at the forefront of Arsenal's good play in the early stages.

His cross for Kaylen Hinds in the third minute almost carved the opener but the forward was unable to convert.

Moments later, Hepburn-Murphy, who netted a late winner in Villa's  FA Youth Cup match against Everton too, showed tremendous skill to control a long ball over the top - his strike was well saved by Ryan Huddart.

From the resultant corner, Grealish saw his header drift narrowly over the bar.

Visiting stopper Brad Watkins was the busier of the two goalkeepers and impressed.

His first contribution of note arrived as Reiss Nelson raced clear down the right and his power-driver was saved by the legs of the claret and blue stopper.

Nelson was against thwarted by Watkins midway through the first period as the keeper spread himself well.

Villa took the lead somewhat against the play - Hepburn Murphy capitalising on defensive hesitation - his initial shot saved but Sellars able to net the follow up.

With their tails up, the young lions came close to a second moments later.

Lewis Kinsella's cutback found Hepburn-Murphy but he couldn't quite connect.

The Gunners increased the tempo and were almost level after 34 minutes.

Mavididi's cross was met by Hinds but his first-time strike was over the crossbar.

Grealish 640

Striker Hepburn-Murphy led the frontline well and had two chances in quick succession both from poaching positions.

Grealish grew as the game progressed and his strike from the edge of the penalty area was inches from doubling Villa's advantage.

The visitors, donning their yellow and black away kit, started the second period on the front foot.

Just two minutes after the restart, Hepburn-Murphy picked up the ball on the left, squared for Adama whose shot was over the intended target.

Arsenal's Ismael Bennacer then let fly from distance but his shot was just too high.

While the Gunners enjoyed the lion's share of possession, Villa looked the more threatening from each attack.

Sellars almost grabbed his second of the afternoon, turning, shooting but firing wide.

The home side were level with just under 10 minutes remaining - Mavididi was fouled in the box and substitute Malen converted coolly.

To their great credit, the visitors dusted themselves down and regained the advantage.

The recently introduced Rory Hale fed Sellars down the right and the latter unselfishly played in Hepburn-Murphy to slot home.

ARSENAL U21: Huddart, Moore (Sheaf 60), M.Bola, Kamara, Bielik, Pleguezuelo (C), Nelson (Malen 45), Bennacer, Mavididi, Hinds, Crowley (Robinson 82). Unused subs: Macey, Agyei-Tabi.

VILLA U21: Watkins, Mason, Ilori, Toner, Kinsella, Adama (Green 51), Lyden (C), Grealish, Blackett-Taylor (Hale 82), Sellars, Hepburn-Murphy. Unused subs: Sarkic, Leggett, Cowans.

Pictures by Arsenal Football Club.

AVFC Official
By @AVFCOfficial 21st December 2015