By Richard Clarke

Arsenal Reserves racked up their fifth consecutive clean-sheet in the goalless draw at Wimbledon on Wednesday night.

Eddie Niedzwiecki?s side have now gone nine games without defeat and the last time they let in a goal was March 9 against Fulham.

In truth this was drab affair with few clear-cut opportunities for either side. But Arsenal definitely had the best of them and with dash of luck may have squeezed a winner.

The National Hockey Stadium was swathed in early summer sunshine when the game kicked-off. Wimbledon?s first team may have already been relegated but their fans still turned out in numbers for this fixture. There were a few thousand in attendance, a very healthy crowd for the Reserve League.

However the first half could not match that enthusiasm. Arsenal had the better of the early stages with John Spicer hacking a shot wide from a Michal Papadopulos knockdown, then Francesc Fabregas fired into the sidenetting.

Wimbledon responded with Arsenal youth product Ben Chorley nodding just wide after the Arsenal defence failed to clear a corner. Then Jamie Mackie thumped a shot just over.

By this time, Fabregas was limping. He had fallen awkwardly after heavy challenge a few minutes earlier and was rubbing his hip gingerly. He tried to run it off but eventually succumbed on the half-hour. Quincy Owusu-Abeyie came on and as a result Stephen Bradley dropped back into midfield.

Arsenal might have gone ahead three times before the break. Papadopulos slipped just outside the six-yard box after Wimbledon keeper Lee Worgan had mis-punched Bentley?s cross. Then Owusu-Abeyie blazed clear onto Bradley?s pass through but could only tamely shoot at the keeper. Finally, in added time, Bradley sidefooted a volley toward the top corner but Worgan pushed it behind.

The second half ended as the first had began. Arsenal had the edge but were not turning their possession into opportunities.

Owusu-Abeyie probably had the best chance when he dragged a shot past the post on the hour.

With 10 minutes left, Rob Gier missed Wimbledon?s clearest chance of the night. Albert Jarrett swung over a free-kick from the left and the unmarked centre back miscued his header from six yards out.

His fellow centre back Shola Odeleye nearly nodded Alex Bailey's cross into his own net in extra time.

But in the end a draw was probably fair

  • Our final reserve game of the season is against West Ham United at Underhill on Monday, April 26, kick-off 7pm. Click here for a full list of Arsenal's Reserve League fixtures.


Olafur Ingi Skulason comes out of a challenge with the ballFabregas bursts past ChorleyQuincy Owusu-Abeyie passes Gier byDavid Bentley shows his close controlSkulason in the thick of the actionSenderos holds off a challenge

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Richard Clarke 21 Apr 2004