Colchester United's youngsters were knocked out of the FA Youth Cup at the quarter-final stage after losing 5-1 to clinical Arsenal at the Weston Homes Community Stadium tonight.

Chris Llewellyn's side were put to the sword by the Gunners in the second half, having gone in at the break trailing by a single goal.

Colchester were hoping to make the most of their second chance and reach the semi-finals of the competition for the first time in their history, having been reinstated after their fifth-round victors Reading were removed from the competition after fielding an under-age player in their 4-1 win at the Community Stadium, last month.

But Arsenal’s youngsters, who have beaten the likes of Bayern Munich and Spurs this season, started quickly and forced the U’s on the back-foot from the start.

Colchester keeper Harry Seaden saved Bukayo Saka’s low shot at his near post, inside the opening two minutes.

And a few minutes later, the Gunners came even closer to scoring when Fol Balogun’s low shot from 20 yards struck the outside of the post, with Seaden motionless.

Colchester left-back Al-Amin Kazeem did well to deny Saka in the area after Xavier Amaechi’s brilliant run and pass had released the forward in space.

But the U’s grew into the tie after that and came close to scoring themselves in the 17th minute when skipper Callum Jones’ excellent 20-yard free-kick looked goalbound until Arsenal keeper Joao Virginia leapt to his right to push the ball away for a corner.

Dean Ager drilled a low shot straight at Virginia as the hosts grew in confidence but Arsenal still looked menacing, with the on-rushing Trae Coyle shooting straight at Seaden from Daley-Campbell’s cross, just after the half hour.

Virginia dived to push away Ager’s good attempt seconds later but Colchester came a lick of paint away from scoring, ten minutes before the break.

Jones’ side-footed effort thudded the post from five yards, after Ollie Sims had escaped down the far post and delivered a fine cross.

Emile Smith-Rowe glided a low shot narrowly wide for Arsenal, who took the lead five minutes before half-time when Smith-Rowe played a one-two with Saka before slamming a shot past Seaden from close range.

Colchester needed less than three minutes of the second half to get back on level terms, though.

After Zech Medley had tripped Sims in the area, skipper Jones slotted away the resultant penalty to equalise.

However, Arsenal were back in front four minutes later when Smith-Rowe curled a fine free-kick into the top corner of the net from the edge of the area, for his second of the game.

And it was 3-1 three minutes after that it when Saka fired in at the near post, after Smith-Rowe had picked him out in the area.

Balogun increased the Gunners’ lead further midway through the second half, drilling home clinically after a swift break and Seaden denied Balogun a second soon after, as the visitors took complete control of the tie.

Xavier Amaechi made it 5-1 with 16 minutes remaining with a clinical finish and substitute Reuben Mudd scuffed a shot straight at Virginia late on, as Arsenal ended Colchester's interest in the FA Youth Cup for another year.

COLCHESTER UNITED: Seaden, Howard, Kazeem (sub Mudd, 59), Keys, Cracknell, Kensdale, Ager, Anderson (sub Cornish, 76), Jones, Chilvers (sub Hasanally, 80), Sims.

Substitutes (not used): Michaels, Coulter.