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RESERVES SO CLOSE

Posted on 2 October 2007  - 12:00

Tomas Pekhart was within a whisker of a dramatic late winner as our reserves had the better of Tuesday night's derby against Arsenal at Leyton Orient.

Tomas Pekhart was within a whisker of a dramatic late winner as our reserves had the better of Tuesday night's derby against Arsenal at Leyton Orient.The clock had ticked into injury time when the young Czech striker fashioned an overhead kick from Andy Barcham's cross, the effort clearing keeper Wojciech Szczesny only for Gavin Hoyte to head off the line.

It would have been no less than the lads deserved after carving out the better chances only to be denied by a combination of two different goalkeepers and their own wayward finishing.

Development coach Clive Allen totted up a total of seven chances afterwards with four saved, two off target and the last, gasp attempt off the line.

Despite that dominance, Arsenal will claim the best chance of the evening, although Vincent Van Den Berg won't been as keen to explain quite how he struck the woodwork from all of six yards in the first half.

Clive went for a 4-4-2 system with David Hutton and Barcham patrolling the flanks, Jake Livermore and Jacques Maghoma central and Leigh Mills captaining the side in Phil Ifil's loan absence.

The first half was a feast of free-flowing, attacking football with chances at both ends.

Although Vito Mannone was the busier of the two goalkeepers, Arsenal wasted the best opportunity when Van Den Berg headed onto the crossbar from James Dunne's cross after 25 minutes.

Mannone denied us on three occaions with Barcham, Pekhart and Simon Dawkins all testing him out, Dawkins arguably with the best chance of the trio, a central one-on-one saved by Mannone diving to his left. Pekhart, meanwhile, had his sights set too high when found by Hutton and Maghoma.

At the other end, Van Den Berg's miss was followed by smart goalkeeping from Tommy Forecast, out quickly to save well at the feet of Merida Perez.

The goalmouth action dried up somewhat at the start of the second half as teams got the measure of each other.

Thomas drove just over and Merida Perez flashed a drive into the side-netting while at the other end, the pace of Barcham and willingness of Pekhart continued to trouble Arsenal without clear-cut chances being created.

We then found another gear to dominate the final 20 minutes. It started with a couple of raids down the left from Cian Hughton before Pekhart shot straight at Szczesny, the substitute goalkeeper on at half-time for Mannone.

Dawkins fired just wide, Szczesny clawed Jon Obika's header off the line and Barcham snatched when offered a clear shot 16 yards out.

Still the lads pushed for the winner and it almost arrived in injury time when Barcham's cross was cleared into the air enabling Pekhart to shape for an overhead kick that beat Szczesny only for Gavin Hoyte to head off the line. It wouldn't have quite matched the drama of Younes Kaboul's equaliser against Villa the previous night, but it would have been just as deserved.

Spurs: Forecast, Riley, Hughton, Livermore, Mills, Archibald-Henville, Barcham, Maghoma, Pekhart, Dawkins, Hutton (Obika, 60). Subs: Dalton, C Butcher, Berchiche, Hutchins.

Arsenal: Mannone (Szczesny, 46), Ogogo, Steer, Dunne, Hoyte, Rodgers, Barazite, Thomas, Van Den Berg (Eastmond, 63), Merida Perez, Watt. Subs: Cruise, Eastmond, Ayling.

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