Post-Match Report

Reserves: Arsenal 1-0 Stoke City - Report

Stoke City Res -

Underhill Stadium
Barclays Under-21 Premier League
Barclays Under-21 Premier League
  Arsenal U23
Arsenal U23
1 0
  Stoke City Res
Stoke City Res

By Nick Teale

A 1-0 win over Stoke at Underhill made it three wins out of three for Arsenal Reserves.

Rhys Murphy provided the only goal of the night, chipping Stoke keeper Dave Parton early in the second half.

The first thing to jump out from the teamsheet was the inclusion of Phillipe Senderos in the Arsenal starting XI. He partnered captain Kyle Bartley at centre half.

That was one of six changes to Neil Banfield's side, with Wojciech Szczesny, Ignasi Miquel, Roarie Deacon, Murphy and Nacer Barazite also added to the line-up that began the game against Birmingham two weeks ago.

The first half was largely uneventful, though there were a few half chances for the Gunners.

Six minutes in a deflected shot from Deacon fell to Nacer Barazite, and with 21 minutes played Murphy tried his luck from 10 yards. But Parton in the Stoke goal was able to comfortably prevent each effort from hitting the back of the net.

For the visitors Leon Cort headed over from a free kick, but for the large part the Potters failed to get in behind the Arsenal backline.

Deacon and Barazite spent the evening swapping wings as part of a front three, and at times it appeared the Stoke defence were struggling to deal with their pace and strength.

But neither side could produce enough to open the scoring, and at the break it remained goalless.

Banfield made two changes at the break. Sanchez Watt and Mark Randall made way, with Oguzhan Ozyakup and Luke Freeman coming on.

The deadlock was broken just six minutes into the second period. Craig Eastmond turned his man and threaded the ball through to Murphy. The striker's shot was just high enough to chip Parton, though the Stoke keeper did manage to get a hand to it.

Arsenal began to dominate possession and get more balls into the box. Murphy went close from a Kerrea Gilbert cross, but his shot edged wide of the near post.

Banfield made his final substitution of the night to introduce Cedric Evina, with Deacon the man withdrawn.

Evina, breaking with eight minutes remaining, thought his through ball had found Murphy in a central position, but the goalscorer had strayed offside.

A 90th-minute corner almost saw an equaliser for Stoke, but Richard Cresswell's close-range effort was saved on the line by Szczesny.

Freeman then had an effort saved in stoppage time after working the ball over the Potters' defence inside the area.

It was to be the last act of the game. Arsenal have collected another three Premier Reserve League South points.

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