By Nick Teale

Arsenal maintained their momentum in the Reserve League South title race with a 1-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday night.

The Gunners dominated possession for much of the match but Francis Coquelin's first-half strike was all that separated the teams at the final whistle.

Craig Eastmond was handed the captain's armband after Luke Ayling joined Yeovil Town on loan earlier in the day. That left a gap at centre-half and Thomas Cruise was the man to fill it.

Sanchez Watt started in attack after returning from a loan spell at Southend United and Benik Afobe and Chuks Aneke both started after putting in some impressive performances for the Under-18s.

The Gunners dominated in the early stages but didn't create any telling chances until taking the lead in the 23rd minute.

Frimpong's free-kick from 20 yards out on the left was low but evaded everyone in the area to find its way towards the near post. A huddle of Arsenal shirts reacted to try and turn the ball over the line before Coquelin emerged to finish with some power.

The hosts' dominance continued until the break. Eastmond went just wide with a 30-yard drive and Aneke fired a shot from the left edge of the area. Wolves keeper Aaron McCarey comfortably brought the effort into his chest.

The Gunners' attacking intent intensified as the half drew to a close and Luke Freeman forced a fumble from his opposing keeper, though he collected it at the second attempt.

Moments later the Arsenal striker tried his luck from 20 yards but his low drive was held by a diving McCarey. The last attempt of the half.

Nine minutes after the break Wolves striker Sam Winnall latched onto a through ball but was unable to race away from Ignasi Miquel. He got a shot away nonetheless but dragged it wide of goal.

Neil Banfield opted for a double substitution on the hour, introducing Rhys Murphy and Oguzhan Ozyakup for Afobe and Aneke.

The visitors also made a change, bringing on Louis Harris. And he almost had an immediate effect, curling a shot towards goal from 20 yards only to see it crash against the advertising boards just left of the target.

Wolves had stepped up their game and came close again soon later when Harris headed over after Nathaniel Mendez-Laing had beaten Cedric Evina at the byline.

It seemed to act as a warning to Arsenal who were quick to regain control of the game, with Freeman looking particularly lively down the left flank.

He danced into the area twice in quick succession. On the first occasion a cut-back for Eastmond was drilled wide and moments later Wolves were more alert to Freeman's danger and dispossessed the advancing striker.

But the visitors could have snatched a late equaliser in the closing minutes. First Harris mis-controlled and put his shot wide after Reckord crossed from the left, then Andre Landell forced Shea into a save from close range.

But Arsenal saw out the game and Eastmond almost added a second in stoppage time but fired his shot just wide of goal.

Banfield's side move to within two points of League pacesetters Aston Villa, though they have played a game more.

Arsenal U21

1
Shea
2
Coquelin Goal!
3
Evina
4
Cruise
5
Miquel
6
Aneke 60
7
Frimpong
8
Eastmond (C) Yellow Card
9
Freeman
10
Afobe 60
11
Watt Yellow Card

Substitutes

12
Dunne
13
Yennaris
14
Byles
15
Ozyakup 60
16
Murphy 60

Wolverhampton W. Res

1
McCarey
2
Batth
3
Metcalf
4
Dunleavy
5
Reckord
6
Mendez-Laing
7
Rooney
8
Davis
9
Landell
10
Edwards 70
11
Winnall 61

Substitutes

12
McCone
13
Harris 61
14
Griffiths 70
15
Parsonage
16
Gorman
Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 17 Mar 2010