Casper Nilsson came off the bench to score a second-half equaliser as Albion drew 2-2 with Arsenal in an entertaining Premier League 2 encounter at the American Express Elite Performance Centre on Friday.
Jack Hinshelwood gave us the perfect start with a goal after five minutes but Arsenal hit back to lead 2-1 with a goal in each half. But defender Nilsson produced a tidy finish to equalise and Albion had several opportunities to win the game.
Albion made the perfect start, going in front after five minutes.
Todd Miller had two efforts from close range blocked but when the ball came back into the six-yard box Hinshelwood timed his run to perfection to beat the offside trap and volley home.
But it took Arsenal just four minutes to equalise. Albion lost possession near the touchline and the visitors broke down the right before Amario Cozier Duberry steered a close-range shot inside the right-hand post.
Arsenal had a good spell after scoring and Nathan Butler Oyedeji wasn’t far away with a shot which he drilled wide of the left-hand post.
It was turning into a competitive tussle. Arsenal’s Miguel Azeez and Andrew Moran were both booked for fouls but Albion gradually began to get on top and should have been back in front by half-time.
On the half hour Moran played a great ball into Hinshelwood’s stride but he shot wide with only the goalkeeper to beat. Three minutes later Todd Miller dragged a volley wide before he won the ball back impressively and played in Moran but he shot straight at keeper Karl Hein.
Left-back Lino Sousa rattled the bar for Arsenal in stoppage time and two minutes after the interval they took the lead when Charles Sagoe jr. broke down the left and smashed a rising shot past James Beadle and into the roof of the net.
Skipper Matt Smith dragged a shot just wide as the Gunners began to get on top but Albion stayed in the game and in the final quarter they got on top again.
Albion grabbed the equaliser on 72 minutes when Miller made a tremendous run into the box and when the ball broke loose Nilsson steered it past Hein from close range.
Nine minutes later, after a great move, Hein made a fine save to thwart Cam Peupion before substitute Billie Clark dragged a shot wide from a decent position. Then deep into stoppage time James Furlong was on the end of another good move but blasted an angled effort over the bar.
Head coach Andrew Crofts said, “It’s been a great week for the academy and I thought we played really well tonight against a strong side and probably did enough to deserve to win.”
Albion: Beadle, Offiah (Packham 75), Tsoungui, Hinshelwood, Furlong, Barrington (Nilsson 61), Hinchy (Clark 45), Chouchane, Miller, Peupion, Moran (Emmerson 90+4).
Sub not used: Cahill.