Checkatrade Trophy: Arsenal U21s progress as Rochdale secure top spot

Joe Willock celebrates a goal for Arsenal Under-21s against Forest Green Rovers
Arsenal Under-21 forward Joe Willock opened the scoring against Forest Green with a 41st-minute penalty, and added a second goal two minutes later from inside the area

Arsenal Under-21s qualified for the last 32 of the Checkatrade Trophy after they won 3-1 at Forest Green Rovers.

A quick-fire brace from Joe Willock put the Gunners 2-0 up at the break and, after Dayle Grubb pulled a goal back, Tyreece John-Jules sealed victory.

Elsewhere, Leicester City U21s gave themselves a slim chance of qualification as they fought back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at Rochdale.

The Foxes took an extra point by winning the shoot-out 4-3.

Calvin Andrew and Jimmy McNulty had put the League One hosts in control after 17 minutes but Alex Pascanu reduced the arrears on 28 minutes.

Ryan Loft drew the Foxes level on 66 minutes but then missed a late penalty, seeing his effort came back off the post.

Zach Clough, Florent Hoti and MJ Williams all missed for Dale in the penalty shoot-out, with Lamine Kaba Sherrif netting the decisive spot-kick for Leicester.

A point meant Rochdale secured top spot in Northern Group B, while Leicester need last-placed Fleetwood Town to defeat Bury by either a 1-0 or 2-1 scoreline in the final group game next Tuesday to progress to the knock-out stages.

Meanwhile, Middlesbrough U21s concluded their campaign with a 1-0 win at Burton Albion in what was a dead rubber.

Both sides had already been eliminated from Northern Group E but a header from 16-year-old substitute Hayden Hackney in the 87th minute settled the encounter in front of 202 fans at the Pirelli Stadium.

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