Llewellyn hails U18s defensive display
A double save from Under-18s goalkeeper Lewis Thomas in the final minutes helped Swansea City earn a hard fought point at home to Arsenal in Premier League South on Saturday afternoon.
The young Swans stood-up to the Gunners attack straight from the kick-off as Arsenal looked to score in the first minute – Thomas palming a cross away before defender Mael Davies blocked a shot on the line moments later.
The scholars rallied to attack down the wings, midfielders Aaron Lewis and Jack Watts linking-up well to break down the Arsenal defence.
The Swans could have taken the lead halfway through the first-half when a through ball from Lewis found Brandon Griffiths, only for the frontman’s shot to be saved by the legs of Ryan Huddart in the Arsenal goal.
Both sides continued to look to break the deadlock in the second-half as the U18s defence continued to frustrate Arsenal’s attackers.
The home side pressed on the counter attack - midfielder Tom Dyson volleyed wide from a corner before substitute Causso Darame rifled a shot just over the bar ten minutes from time.
The Under-18s defended strongly in the final minutes to keep the score level.
A curing shot from substitute Eddie Nketiah tipped round the post by Lewis Thomas before the Swans keeper pulled off another fine save moments before the full-time whistle to earn the scholars their first clean sheet of the season.
SWANS U18s: Lewis Thomas (capt), Mael Davies, Joe Lewis, Jack Evans (Conor Quigley, 76), Tom Dyson, Brandon Cooper, Aaron Lewis, Jordan Jones, Brandon Griffiths (Liam Edwards, 60), Jack Watts, Keiran Evans (Causso Darame, 60)
SUBS NOT USED: Alex Lang, Marco Dulca
U18s coach Chris Llewellyn hailed the U18s defensive resilience against a strong Arsenal side.
“It was our best defensive performance of the season,” He said.
“Arsenal dominated large spells of the game and had good chances in the first-half but we held our discipline, organisation and defensive shape.
“It was a very tough game but defensively we were outstanding.
“Credit has to go to all the lads but Lewis Thomas made a great save in the final few minutes of the game to keep us level, he has worked hard all season and been rewarded with a clean sheet today.
“The result will give us confidence going forward but overall we still need to improve in possession in the final third.
“We had some good chances but we need to start being more ruthless around the box and make the most of the opportunities.
“As soon as we do that we can start to turn draws into wins.
“This was our best defensive performance this season, we are still looking for that complete performance but we will continue to build towards that.