Arsenal inflicted a first defeat on new manager Pep Segura as the Gunners beat Liverpool 2-1 in the Premier Reserves League this evening.
Neil Banfield layed out a plan to win the league this week, but he lost George Brislen-Hall and Chuks Aneke before kick off, with the latter failing a fitness test following a training incident with Jack Wilshere. Roarie Deacon was drafted in as a late change.
ARSENAL: Shea; Hajrovic, Boateng, Miquel, Angha; Rees, Ozyakup, Henderson; Deacon, Murphy, Freeman.
LIVERPOOL: Hansen; Mendy, Cooper, Sama, Wisdom; Thomas, Silva, Saric, Ince; Roberts, Irwin.
Arsenal elected to attack down the slope on their return to Underhill, but it was Liverpool who began the brighter, forcing Miquel to clear two dangerous Ince crosses.
The Merseysiders continued to press down the flanks, but it was Arsenal who created the first real chance, which Murphy wasted after good work from Freeman in the middle.
Liverpool then returned to their plan of retaining the ball, but it proved to be their down fall. Sloppy play at the back was taken advantage of by Deacon, he slipped in Freeman who beat one man, then smashed a powerful drive into the top corner on his weaker right foot. It was a stunning opener. 1-0.
Deacon continued his dangerous play and won a penalty nine minutes later, after Wisdom tripped him in the box. Murphy grabbed the ball and casually sent Hansen the wrong way, only to see the ball smack the post and bounce clear.
It proved to be the final real action of the first half.
Liverpool returned from the break a better team, but Shea proved to be on his guard denying Ince and then Saric from the re-bound as the play began to get stretched.
Freeman did his best to try and seal the game late on, but his volley in the box went inches over. He had another chance shortly after, when Wisdom passed the ball straight to him, but the resulting shot was easy for Hansen.
The visitors tried to grab a last ditch equaliser, but a succession of free kicks and corners came to nothing. It appeared to be a frustrating night, but Ince cropped up in the 88th minute to slide home following a save from Shea. 1-1.
The draw seemed all but certain, but Arsenal forced a late corner. Freeman pulled off his man and turned home in stoppage time for a late winner. 2-1.
The win leaves Banfield’s boys very much in the title hunt as the season enters its final stages.