By Mo Khan
Arsenal came from a goal down to beat Fulham 3-1 at Motspur Park as Mart Poom made his first appearance for the Gunners.
Having disposed of North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur last Monday, Neil Banfield's young side showed tremendous spirit with goals from Jay Simpson, Marc Elston and Nicklas Bendtner overwhelming the home side.
On the night, Fulham struggled to come to terms with the pace and trickery of Arsenal's forward players, despite enjoying much of the possession.
Jordan Fowler, without a club after being released during the summer by Arsenal, partnered Mathew Connolly in the centre of defence.
But Fulham's forwards were causing the Gunners rearguard a lot of problems early on with the aerial threat of former Watford man Heidar Helguson and the pace and movement of Ismael Ehui.
And it was the Cottagers' front pairing who combined superbly to put Fulham ahead after 25 minutes.
Adam Green high ball into the box was chested down first time by Helguson into the path of Ehui who controlled and found the far corner with aplomb.
By this point, Estonian international Poom had already been called into action in the visitors' goal, saving well from a Helguson header which bounced just in front of him and then standing firm in a one-on-one with Ehui.
The wet surface ensured a tricky evening for the goalkeepers but Poom dealt with some difficult situations with both poise and assurance. The former Derby County man's kicking was also spot on, and time and again he found the impressive Bendtner with long kicks upfield as the Danish forward caused mayhem in the Fulham defence.
Arsenal were only behind for 10 minutes when one such Poom kick was brought down superbly by Bendtner. He turned and slipped in the pacy Simpson who beat the keeper with ease to bring Arsenal level.
Two minutes later the same player was clean through again, in an almost identical position - or so it seemed. The referee's assistant belatedly raised a flag and Fulham survived.
In the second half, Bendtner continued to cause problems with his height and presence and after 65 minutes Arsenal took the lead.
A lovely move on the right involving Patrick Cregg and Fabrice Muamba culminated in a slide-rule pass to Croydon-born Elston. The Under 18s matchwinner on Saturday extended his purple patch with a cool finish into the far corner which caressed the upright on the way in.
Helguson squandered a half-chance after that but the game was settled in the final minute as Bendtner got his reward for yet another tireless, line-leading performance for the Reserves.
The former FC Copenhagen youngster scored from an acute angle against Spurs and he did so again last night. Having burst into the box from the left, he tall frontman opened his body up before slotting effortlessly into the far corner.
Arsenal have won six of their nine games so far this season and Bendtner has now scored seven times in nine starts for the Reserves.
Just another day at the office for Bendtner and the rest of Banfield's boys.
- Simpson 75 Goal!
- Bendtner Goal!
- Elston Goal!
- Steer 75