By Mo Khan
Arsenal won 4-1 at Leicester on Tuesday to return to the top of the Reserve League table - but they had to rely heavily on keeper Mart Poom to do it.
Arturo Lupoli broke the deadlock in the 19th minute at Hinckley United FC. But, after that, the home side took charge. They forced an equaliser just after the half-hour and then frequent saves from Poom before the visitors made the game safe.
That happened with 11 minutes remaining when Lupoli grabbed his second. Injury-time strikes by Quincy and Anthony Stokes were perhaps harsh on Leicester.
Coach Neil Banfield made five changes from the side that beaten Ipswich 2-0 at the start of the month. In came Paul Rodgers, Mitchell Murphy, Sean Kelly, Jay Simpson and Shane Tracy to replace Emmanuel Eboue, Philippe Senderos, Johan Djourou, Kerrea Gilbert and Nicklas Bendtner.
Lupoli struck early for the visitors. The former Parma starlet raced onto a well-weighted through ball by Jay Simpson, outpaced former England international Dion Dublin before coolly firing past keeper Alex Cisak. It was his 15th goal in his 12th start for the Reserves this term.
Lupoli might have scored even earlier. He rounded Cisak in the opening seconds but was shut out by a covering defender as he looked to roll the ball home.
To their credit, Leicester hauled themselves back into the game with Levi Porter causing the Gunners problems with his probing passes and neat touches.
After Poom had produced a string of saves, including a finger-tip from Morris' header to push the effort onto the bar, the home side eventually got the goal their play and possession deserved.
Morris found himself one-on-one with the Estonian international on the left of the box and he fired into the bottom right-hand corner.
Injury forced Simpson to be replaced by Marc Elston in the 33rd minute but Leicester continued to dominate, knocking the ball around crisply and finding gaps in the Gunners rearguard.
The second half began in much the same way as the first had ended with the home side controlling the game. But Arsenal were standing firm despite Dublin glancing a header wide and Joe Magunda hitting the bar from 40 yards.
Then Lupoli scored again. Elston hit a wonderful, first-time pass with outside of his right-foot into the 18-year-old's path and even though his first shot was saved by Cisak, he made no mistake with the rebound.
The goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of the Foxes and, in injury time, Quincy took a shot from the edge of the box. His effort looped up of Dublin and beyond the despairing dive of Cisak. The score was 3-1 and yet it was difficult to fathom quite how the hosts were trailing.
With Leicester now resigned to defeat, Arsenal continued to press forward and, from a right-wing corner by Sebastian Larsson, Stokes struck a sweet, left-foot volley through a crowd of players and into bottom corner.
- Kelly 64
- Simpson 34
- Tracy 49
- Lupoli Goal! Goal!
- Owusu-Abeyie Goal!
- Stokes Goal!
- Hoyte 64
- Steer 49
- Elston 34