Arsenal's flickering hopes of winning the Reserve League
title were extinguished on Wednesday night as Southampton condemned
the young Gunners to their heaviest defeat of the season.
Djamel Belmadi gave the hosts an early lead at St. Mary's
and Marian Pahars added another in the 25th minute. David
McGoldrick extended Southampton's lead seconds after the break
and scored again on the hour. Belmadi grabbed his second and his
team's fifth in the 69 minute.
Nicklas Bendtner grabbed a consolation goal for the visitors 13
minutes from time but it was too little, too late for Neil
Banfield's side. They slip to third place in Reserve League
South, behind Southampton.
Bendtner had the first sight of goal after just three minutes.
The Danish youth international tried his luck from 25 yards but did
not trouble goalkeeper Michael Poke.
Belmadi flashed a similar effort past Mart Poom's right-hand
post shortly afterwards and then wasted an excellent chance,
ballooning a shot over the crossbar after excellent work from
full-back Gareth Bale. However, Belmadi made amends in the ninth
minute, cutting in from the left and swapping passes with David
McGoldrick before shooting low past Poom.
Poke, booked for a badly mis-timed challenge on Bendtner just
outside the box, saved bravely at the feet of Anthony Stokes after
a well-worked free-kick, but Arsenal's chances were few and far
between and they soon found themselves further behind.
Pahars doubled Southampton's lead, collecting Belmadi's
pass and cutting in from the left flank before drilling the ball
McGoldrick nearly made it three shortly afterwards, running onto
Sparv's through ball and lifting it over Poom but wide of the
post. Then the Arsenal goalkeeper made an excellent stop at the
feet of McGoldrick after a long punt from Poke had created another
A goal before half time would have changed the complexion of the
game and Arsenal went close to doing just that. Ryan Smith surged
into the area but fired into the side-netting, then Bendtner
smacked a shot against the outside of the post from a tight
Banfield's side were made to rue those missed opportunities
within a minute of the restart. McGoldrick muscled his way past
Matthew Connolly and slotted home from 10 yards to effectively
settle the result.
Arsenal persevered and Jay Simpson, on as a half-time
substitute, forced a good one-handed stop from Poke. Sebastian
Larsson was first to the loose ball but could only thump his effort
against the foot of the post.
McGoldrick made it four on the hour mark with his second of the
match, another low finish giving Poom no chance. Then nine minutes
later Belmadi doubled his tally, slamming the ball into the top
corner after a skilful turn inside the box.
Bendtner grabbed a consolation with 12 minutes left, turning the
ball home from the left of the area after muscling his way into the
box. Marc Elston flashed a header wide in the closing stages but,
by then, the game was long gone for Arsenal.
With thanks to saintsfc.co.uk
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