Cambridge United Under 15’s/16’s played host to Premier League side Arsenal at the Cambs Glass Stadium, with the visitors taking the spoils in front of a sizeable crowd.
Buoyed by the vocal support, the young U’s wasted no time in giving the United faithful something to cheer about, with their high press forcing a mistake from the Arsenal keeper before finding the back of the net.
However the Gunners, coached by former Premier League winner Freddie Ljungberg, responded in an equally quick manner, twice registering to flip the score line within the opening 20 minutes.
United rallied well though and had opportunities to level before the Gunners extended their lead five minutes before the break.
The U’s continued to compete well in throughout the second half before the Gunners put the game to bed with a free kick on 70 minutes.
Despite the result, Youth Development Phase Lead Coach Tom Pell felt the match was a still a worthwhile learning experience for the young U’s side.
He said: “Tonight was the fifth time we have staged one of these of events and this is the first we have lost since our opening match with Tottenham Hotspurs, so there is a different feeling and conversation to be had in the dressing room after the game.
“From a coach’s point of view, we see this as an opportunity to learn more from the experience, than perhaps those where we achieved a good result against Liverpool, Chelsea ad Tottenham previously.
“As always we are always very appreciative of the support and it provides an environment that the players will not usually be used to.
“Overall it was another great experience for all involved.”
Meanwhile Arsenal coach Freddie Ljungberg was full of praise for United, and said: “I thought they played great, with plenty of energy and a number of good players including a few who came on from the bench. I was impressed with how they played.
“For us, it was a great surrounding to play a match and for my boys it was an invaluable experience.”