FOOTBALL fans turned out in force to see an Arsenal XI produce a thrilling display at The Pilot Field on Tuesday night.
The young Gunners ran out 9-0 winners against Hastings United in front of a larger-than-expected crowd of 2,315.
The likes of Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Sanchez Watt and captain Kyle Bartley, who last season were on loan at Cardiff City, Leeds United and Rangers respectively, all displayed their skills in this showpiece pre-season friendly.
Although considerable underdogs, it was Hastings who came within a whisker of opening the scoring in the very first minute when Kenny Pogue was denied by a fingertip save.
The class of the London giants’ talented reserves soon began to tell and they took the lead after a quarter-of-an-hour through Dutch midfielder Oguzhan Ozyakup.
Emmanuel-Thomas grabbed two goals in as many minutes, his first following another burst forward from the fleet-footed Watt and the second after cutting in from the left.
Chuks Aneke then deservedly got on the scoresheet to make the half time score 4-0.
There was no let up in the second half as substitute Rhys Murphy added number five by heading home Emmanuel-Thomas’ cross-cum-shot underneath the crossbar.
Further goals from Watt, Luke Freeman (2) and Jernade Meade completed the scoring.
Hastings (4-5-1): Willis (Camara 88), Manning, Bolwell (Sutton 59), Crellin, Ray, Jirbandey (Dixon 59), Hopkinson (White 59), Carey (Melia 67), Pogue (West 67), Hall, Billings (Jones 59).
Arsenal (4-3-3): Charles-Cook, Yennaris, Henderson, Galindo, Bartley, Boateng (Murphy HT), Emmanuel-Thomas (Meade 57), Ozyakup, Watt, Aneke (Brislen-Hall 53), Freeman.
A full report and pictures will appear in this Friday’s Observer Sport