Trailing 3-1 to the Gunners at their training ground, Kieran shuffled his pack with striker Aramide Oteh, midfielder Dylan Duncan and young centre-half TJ Eyoma entering the fray between the 66th and 71st minutes.
From there we kicked on to salvage a point from our last game of the domestic campaign as first Oteh rifled home with 12 minutes left, before Arsenal’s Kris Da Graca helped Keanan Bennetts’ free-kick into his own net four minutes later.
Earlier, we’d profited from another own goal from Jordi Osei-Tutu which cancelled out the first of three strikes from Eddie Nketiah at the other end.
Under-18s Coach Kieran admitted it was a “topsy-turvy” game but was full of praise for the trio who stepped off the bench.
“I thought we had the better of the play for most of the match to be honest, but the switch in the game probably came with the substitutes. I thought all three made a really good impact,” he said. “We spoke at half-time about how we thought we’d done quite well but didn’t quite have our foot to the mat but after the subs came on I thought everyone applied themselves to the absolute full, we really increased the pressure in the last 20 minutes and that resulted in the two late goals.
“The first own goal earlier in the game was obviously a strange one but we scored a similar one in our last game. On our third goal it was an excellent delivery from Keanan and in that instance it doesn’t matter who touches it – even if nobody gets to the ball it’s going in the back of the net anyway so I think we deserved our fortune on those goals.
“Obviously we’re really disappointed with the three goals we conceded on the counter-attack, though. Each time we’ve turned the ball over cheaply and not defended the counter-attack well enough but throughout the match we had more of the play, had the ball in better areas and we were certainly the team in the ascendancy towards the end.”