Visitors progress with shootout victory
A first-half brace from Kayden Jackson wasn't enough as Arsenal U21 progressed in the Papa John's Trophy this evening.
Following the Town forward's double in the first 45 minutes, the visitors mounted a second-half comeback to draw level and force a shootout.
The young Gunners won the penalty shootout 4-3, with Bersant Celina and Joe Pigott failing to score for the home side.
Paul Cook made 11 changes to the side that beat Crewe in the League on Sunday, with Tom Carroll returning to the setup for the first time since September following injury.
Cameron Burgess, who lined up in central defence next to Luke Woolfenden, captained the hosts under the lights.
Chances were few and far between in the early stages, although Pigott did force Arsenal 'keeper Ovie Ejeheri into action after just five minutes, the shot-stopper comfortably getting low to his left to collect a long-range effort from the Blues frontman.
With 30 minutes on the clock, Jackson opened the scoring. After collecting a pass about 25 yards from goal, he drove forward and hit a nice strike that found the back of the net via a slight deflection.
Thirteen minutes later he doubled his and Town's tally with a lovely right-footed effort following a cross from the left side.
The score remained 2-0 until the break and the next clear opportunity didn't come until the hour mark. Balogun collected a pass and raced through on goal, but Burgess got back and produced a fine tackle to deny the Gunners forward.
On 68 the visitors pulled one back as Kane Vincent-Young headed into his own net following an Arsenal corner.
And three minutes later the scores were level again. Balogun took the ball in his strike before finishing underneath Vaclav Hladky with his left foot from a narrowing angle.
Pigott had the ball in the net for Town with two minutes remaining, but the linesman's flag was up for offside.
It finished level, with Arsenal U21 winning the penalty shootout 4-3 to reach the next round.
Town: Hladky, Vincent-Young (Donacien 78'), Woolfenden, Burgess (C), Penney, Carroll, El Mizouni (Chaplin 90'), Jackson, Harper (Evans 78'), Edwards (Celina 78'), Pigott.
Subs: Holy, Kenlock, Fraser.
Arsenal U21: Ejeheri, Balogun (C), Akinola, Lopez, Biereth, Ogungbo, Rekik, Swanson (Alebiosu 89'), Hutchinson, Norton-Cuffy, Patino (Oulad-M'Hand 45').
Subs: Ideho, Olayinka, Oulad-M'Hand, Taylor-Hart, Mitchell, Cozier-Duberry.
Booked: Patino, Rekik.
Attendance: 4,065 (244 away)