Young U's defeat counterparts.
The U’s got off to a flying start and it was no surprise that Drey Wright was involved. He got away down the right and cut back inside, laying the ball into the path of Freddie Ladapo. He kept calm, took the ball past the keeper and slotted home from close range.
Playing some great football, they scored two more in a very pleasing performance, as the game eventually finished 5-1.
The first half in particular was outstanding from the home team, who pinned in their opponents and raced into a 3-0 half time lead.
An impressive display by a young Colchester United side saw them beat their Arsenal counterparts on Tuesday night.
At the other end, Alex Iwobi got on the ball in midfield and sent Chuba Akpom clear, but Cousins was sharply off his line to collect before the Arsenal man could get there.
The Gunners had recovered well from that bad start and were starting to influence the play with their high tempo football.
Wright was the U’s main outlet in that first fifteen minutes, and he got away down the right again as he beat Moore for speed before cutting inside. He tried to find Hubble and it was intercepted before it found the U’s man.
But it was from a central position that the U’s were able to extend their advantage on seventeen minutes.
A ball over the top for Ladapo saw him dispossessed as he tried to get through two players, but it then fell loose.
Sanderson bravely won the ball on the edge of the box and Hubble was the quickest to react this time, shifting the ball to the right before firing home into the corner.
Diving for that goal saw Martinez pick up what appeared to be a shoulder injury, and he was replaced by Ryan Huddart between the sticks.
Bellarin was one of the visitors key threats in his battle with O’Donoghue and he got the better of the U’s man, before firing in a low shot that Cousins blocked at his near post.
The U’s could have extended their advantage on 37 minutes as Gilbey got Ladapo in on goal, but the substitute keeper Huddart did well to turn away the striker’s low shot.
Josh Thompson was in the right place at the right time to block an acrobatic effort from Akpom, and the U’s defence then saw off two further shots by Eisfield and Olsson.
But Wright was the star of the first half. Ladapo set him away one on one against Bensabaini and, stood up by the Arsenal man, he worked enough space to get a shot away, which clipped the toe of the defender and curled into the bottom corner.
The Gunners, trailing at the break, started the second half strongly, but they found themselves further behind six minutes after the restart.
Moore’s clearance was deflected into his path and he waited for the ball to drop to the right height before lashing home left footed.
He almost turned provider shortly afterwards, dinking a cross to the far post for the onrushing Melaugh, whose sidefooted effort dropped just past the upright.
The Gunners best chance of the game so far came ten minutes after the interval as the dangerous Akpom worked space and struck a shot that clipped the bar and went over.
They were having a rare spell of domination and got a penalty after Akpom went to ground in the box under pressure.
The Gunners man made no mistake sending Cousins the wrong way to make it 4-1.
However, the visitors were then reduced to ten men as Hayden saw red. He got outwitted by Hubble as the U’s midfielder moved the ball too quickly for the Gunners man and got crunched in the centre of the pitch.
Akpom went close again, this time getting the wrong side of Thompson to bear down on goal. His toe poked effort looked destined for goal, but Cousins stood strong and batted the ball away.
The U’s made a triple change with fifteen to go, with O’Donoghue, Sanderson and Melaugh replaced by Szmodics, Simmons and Spence coming on.
Shortly afterwards, Nwachuku made it four changes, with two goal front man Ladapo making way.
It was a fitting conclusion to the game, with the U's surely having impressed the fans that came to watch.
But the sub shot-stopper could do little about what came next. Hubble stood up the cross to Spence on the edge of the box, who unleashed a sensational shot back across the keeper and into the net.
Gilbey then stretched Huddart with a long range shot that the keeper turned away for a corner.
The Gunners nearly pulled another back as the U’s got caught on the ball, but Akpom was denied again by Cousins, who turned it onto the woodwork.