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RESERVE REPORT: SPURS 0, ARSENAL 2

Posted on 11 October 2005  - 12:00

Two goals in the second half handed Arsenal victory in a competitive reserve derby at Stevenage Borough on Monday night.

Two goals in the second half handed Arsenal victory in a competitive reserve derby at Stevenage Borough on Monday night.

Radek Cerny was at the centre of the key action as he had one of those typical nights for a goalkeeper - hero one minute, villain the next. The Czech keeper saved a penalty and twice denied the visitors in the first half only to then be at fault for the decisive second goal 12 minutes from time.

He still had time to produce the save of the night from Arturo Lupoli in the closing stages as our unbeaten record fell by the wayside in the FA Premier Reserve League South.

It was a typically high-octane encounter between the teams, particularly sparky in the midfield areas and not lacking goalmouth action.

Cerny and Stephen Kelly provided the first team experience with Kelly starting at left-back and Marcel McKie partnering Charlie Lee in central defence.

As expected, it was a snappy start to the first half with only one chance in the first 15 minutes, Lupoli striking a fierce drive froma tight angle that Cerny would have expected to save but clung on to well nevertheless.

Our first chance arrived after 17 minutes when Jamie O'Hara curled in a free-kick from the right that Almunia tried to clear only to see his punch hit one of his defenders and fall to Kelly. Arsenal had players on the line and Kelly struck his half-volley into the side netting.

Barnard again looked our most likely source of a goal but he took the role of link man in the first half to twice release Hamed, the youngster first over running the ball and then dragging a shot wide.

Cerny saved well from Connolly's powerful header after 32 minutes - Arsenal looked dangerous at set-pieces throughout - before topping that just before the break.

The visitors held onto possession for a period before Stokes wriggled free down the left, Charlie Lee dived in and appeared to catch him and the referee didn't hesitate to point to the spot. Lupoli stepped up, Cerny went the right way and saved low to his left.

The second half served up much of the same although there were more chances at both ends

Arsenal might have done better in the opening minute when Cregg burst into the box only to pull his cross behind Lupoli.

Play then switched to the other end for a decent spell of Spurs pressure as Barnard nodded McKenna's cross over, Lewis stung Almunia's hands from distance and Barnard, forced to take his shot early, curled at the keeper from 20 yards.

Connolly's presence was felt again just before the hour as he glanced Cregg's free-kick just wide and Barnard volleyed over at the near post from Hamed's cross.

The deadlock was broken after 67 minutes. Cregg released Bendtner and the forward raced into the box, beat Kelly and slotted across Cerny into the far corner.

McKenna, everywhere as always in midfield, struck straight at Almunia before the decisive blow on 78 minutes. Cregg curled in a free-kick aimed again at Connolly, Cerny came to meet it, didn't get hold of his punch and Lupoli tapped home into an empty net.

Bendtner and Cregg went close in the latter stages as we pushed for a reply and Cerny produced another fine save to fingertip Lupoli's shot wide.

KEY MOMENTS
7mins: Song released Lupoli, left edge of box, tight angle, fierce shot well held by Cerny at near post.

17mins: O'Hara free-kick from right, Almunia's punch hit his own player and bounced to Kelly, bodies in way, half-volleyed into side netting.

26mins: Stokes raced down left flank, cut inside Riley and Lee before curling just wide.

43mins: PENALTY SAVED. Arsenal possession, Stokes cut into box, Lee dived in and appeared to catch him. Penalty awarded. Lupoli hit low to Cerny's left, Cerny guessed right and produced fine save.

Half-time: Spurs 0, Arsenal 0

46mins: Cregg cut in from right, decent chance but opted to square and passed behind Lupoli, ball eventually found its way to Lupoli who went over, penalty appeals waved away.

51mins: Pressure from Barnard and McKenna forced Arsenal into half-clearance, ball fell to Lewis 30 yards out, low drive was taken cleanly by Almunia.

59mins: Connolly the danger again from Cregg's free-kick, met six yards out but glanced header wide.

66mins: Riley's long pass down the line hauled in by pacy Hamed, cross met by Barnard at near post, difficult chance, volleyed over.

67mins: GOAL. Cregg pass through the eye of a needle to release Bendtner, ran past Kelly before shooting low across Cerny into far corner.
Spurs 0, Arsenal 1

75mins: Good move between O'Hara, McKenna and Barnard set up McKenna for a good strike from 18 yards, unfortunately straight at Almunia.

78mins: GOAL. Cerny came to meet Cregg's free-kick, didn't get hold of punch under pressure from Connolly, loose ball tapped in by Lupoli.
Spurs 0, Arsenal 2

89mins: Cerny superb save at full stretch to tip Lupoli's shot wide.

LINE-UPS
Spurs: Cerny, Riley, Kelly, McKenna, Lee, McKie (Maghoma, 45), Lewis (Martin, 80), O'Hara, Barnard, Hamed (Dawkins, 87), Daniels. Unused subs: Archibald-Henville, Forecast.

Arsenal: Almunia, Gilbert, Murphy, Muamba, Kelly, Connolly, Cregg, Song, Bendtner, Lupoli, Stokes. Subs: Simpson, Mannone, Tracy, Efrem.