It wasn’t the fairytale night that could have been but a great experience nonetheless for young Tom Carroll at the Emirates last night.
The 18-year-old midfielder, on loan at Leyton Orient, played 90 minutes of the League One side’s high-profile FA Cup fifth round replay against Premier League giants Arsenal.
Tom’s impressive display in the second half of the original tie at Brisbane Road 10 days ago, which ended in a 1-1 draw, has seen him force his way into Russell Slade’s side having arrived in the East End in January.
But it was always going to be an uphill struggle on the red side of North London against a side intent on putting the weekend’s Carling Cup Final disappointment behind them.
Playing in the centre of midfield, Tom had little answer as the Gunners raced into a 3-0 lead by half-time, with the youngster being dispossessed in the run-up to the third goal.
The Watford-born player, however, showed plenty of confidence, always looking to get on the ball, and was involved in much of Orient’s best attacking play.
Another Spurs loanee, Paul-Jose M’Poku, was introduced with 10 minutes remaining, but by then Arsenal were 5-0 up which is how it finished as they booked their place in the Quarter-Finals where they will face Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Also in FA Cup action on Wednesday night was Kyle Walker, but his late introduction off the bench came too late to prevent Aston Villa’s fifth round defeat at Manchester City.