By Richard Clarke
Arsenal Reserves extended their unbeaten run to seven games with a goalless draw at Watford on Wednesday night
In a game of few chances, Eddie Niedzwiecki's young side kept their shape and concentration against Vicarage Road outfit who had the edge for much of the evening. Still a point away from home is never a bad result. This one means the Reserves have obtained five wins and two draws since their last defeat.
Watford had experience up front in the form of Bruce Dyer and the former Crystal Palace striker had the first chances of a quiet opening. He headed harmlessly into the hands of Arsenal keeper Rami Shabaan early on and then midway through the half latched onto a cute through ball from former Arsenal midfielder Paolo Vernazza before shooting into the sidenetting.
Niedzwiecki had put out a young side and, on a difficult pitch, they struggled to string passes together. Their first real sight on goal came on 28 minutes when David Bentley drifted a chip just over.
However a minute later they nearly took the lead. Justin Hoyte crossed from the right and John Spicer sidefooted a volley against the underside of the bar. It bounced back down into the six-yard box but Watford cleared the danger.
However Dyer was still the main threat for the home side and he rolled a shot just past the post in the 32nd minute with Shaaban beaten.
The keeper had to be at his best five minutes before the break. Watford striker Hameur Bouazza weaved his way into space on the corner of the six-yard box and his deflected shot seemed like it might drift in before Shaaban stretched his huge frame and thrust out a hand to claw the ball away
The Arsenal keeper was starting to be over-employed. Five minutes before the break, Gary Fisken crossed from the right, Bouazza met it with a firm downward header and the keeper kicked the ball clear. It was a solid save and made without the knowledge that the flag had gone up for offside.
Watford started the second half on top but had created little before Niedzwiecki made a treble substitution on the hour. Adam Birchall, Ashley Probets and Sebastien Larsson came on for Hoyte, Bentley and Francesc Fabregas.
It made little difference. Watford still had the edge in terms of territory and possession but they could not turn it into opportunities.
Papadopulos sliced a shot over and then nearly put John Spicer through.
But Dyer should have won it in injury time when he rolled a shot wide after Shaaban had failed to clear his lines.
- Our next reserve home game is against Portsmouth on Tuesday, April 13. Click here for a full list of Arsenal's Reserve League fixtures.
David Bentley bursts forwardsCesc Fabregas at full stretchPapadopulos beats the offside trapBradley keeps possession
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 7 Apr 2004