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Report: Arsenal Under-23s 3-1 Rovers Under-23s

Harry Chapman's strike isn't enough as Rovers return north empty-handed against The Gunners

7 December 2019

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Goals from Trae Coyle, Zech Medley and Tyreece John-Jules put Rovers Under-23s to the sword in a defeat to Arsenal's Under-23s on Friday night.

Richie Smallwood started and played the full 90 for Rovers, who also included Jacob Davenport and Harry Chapman in the XI in Hertfordshire.

There was also an appearance for Ben Gladwin, who got just over an hour in the tank in the second game of his comeback following over two years out of action.

The Gunners started the better at Boreham Wood's Meadow Park, with Robbie Burton seeing his volley fly wide of the target just five minutes into the encounter.

But with the next chance, midway through the half, Arsenal took the lead following a slick move involving Dinos Mavropanos and Emile Smith-Rowe.

The latter collected a header from the Greek before setting up Coyle with the perfect pass to simply tuck home beyond Joe Hilton.

The lead was doubled just three minutes later through Medley, who was in the right place at the right time to slot home after John-Jules crashed an effort against the post.

The excellent Smith-Rowe, who spent a part of last season at Bundesliga side Red Bull Leipzig, was the orchestrator again with less than 10 minutes to go until the break.

He set up John-Jules, who made no mistake by drilling a powerful strike beyond Hilton and into the roof of the net to put Steve Bould's high-flyers in command going into the break.

Smith-Rowe was influential for the hosts, and he saw an effort curl an inch or two wide of the post on the hour mark as Arsenal went in search of more goals.

Rovers kept going to their credit, and pulled a goal back with 11 minutes remaining when Jack Vale found Chapman, who skipped past a challenge before firing past Matt Macey.

That was only a consolation for Billy Barr's side, who will be looking to get back on track when Leicester City head to Ewood Park on Friday 13th December in Premier League 2, kick-off 7pm.

Arsenal Under-23s: Macey, Medley, Mavropanos, Smith, Omole (McGuinness, 62), Burton, Coyle, Tormey, Swanson (Olowu, 71), Smith-Rowe (Olayinka, 62), John-Jules.

Unused substitutes: Hein, McEneff.

Rovers Under-23s: Hilton, Carter, Thompson (Paton, 78), Whitehall, Smallwood, Gladwin (Mols, 62), Davenport (Lyons, 78), Rankin-Costello, Vale, Chapman, Butterworth.

Unused substitutes: Eastham, Boyomo.

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