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Arsenal.com:

Charlton have been leading the Barclays Reserve League South for much of the season but, on this showing at least, Arsenal are a match for them.

Neil Banfield’s side twice led with a goal at the start of each half but were pegged back each time by a sucker-punch. That is not to say Charlton did not have possession or opportunities, they had ample of both.

It is just that the South Londoners were fielding a side boosted by the likes of Graham Stuart, Jonatan Johansson and Paul Konchesky. Arsenal’s only real first-team experience came in the form of Jermaine Pennant, who excelled on his return after a hamstring injury.

It may have been bitterly cold at Barnet FC on Tuesday night but this was a winter warmer. A decent Reserve team scrap between two sides competing at the top of their standard.

Arsenal were ahead in the eighth minute. Kerrea Gilbert was bustled off the ball in midfield and tapped a quick free-kick to Pennant. The England Under-21 international nutmegged Neil McCafferty and found himself 25 yards out with little on. He paused for second then spanked a low shot into the corner. It was a surreal goal as Charlton keeper Stephen Anderson hardly moved a muscle as ball flew in.

The lead would last barely a minute. Lawrie Wilson threaded a low, angled ball into the area and Lloyd Sam’s extravagant dummy fooled his marker allowing Alex Varney to sweep a shot past Mark Howard from close range.

Charlton went on to show their table-tabling credentials. Varney’s drive from outside the area was blocked by Matthew Connolly and, after Quincy had dribbled a shot wide, the big centre back saved Arsenal again in the 21st minute

Johansson beat the offside trap and clipped the ball past the advancing Howard. However his touch took him wide of the goal and, with Howard scrambling to recover his ground, the Finnish striker had only two defenders between him and the goal. However his shot cannoned off the legs of Connolly and away for a corner.

It was becoming a refreshingly open game. Two minutes later, Sam sent McCafferty clear on the right of the area but Howard shovelled away his shot. Soon afterwards Pennant speared a free-kick just wide of the angle.

The fit-again midfielder continued to show some touches of quality. Just before half time he won the ball on the right and sent a long raking ball forward for Quincy to collect. The Dutch striker used his pace to go clear and his trickery to wrong-foot his markers. However he elaborated too much and the Charlton defence poured back into position. Quincy was crowded out and shot into the arms of the keeper.

In the scramble, visiting centre back Osei Sankofa appeared to twist his knee. Play was held up for a couple of minutes as he was stretched off.

Arsenal came out invigorated for the restart. Within six minutes Quincy had burst through in the left-hand channel and cracked an effort into the sidenetting. Although Charlton’s Stacy Long tested Howard from distance, Arsenal would not be denied.

In the 57th minute, Quincy won a corner and provided the delivery himself. Larsson rose high at the near post to plant his header home at the near post. Eight minutes later the same pair nearly added an identical third. It was the same corner-taker and same player providing the header. The differences were it was swung over from the right and, of course, it bounced narrowly past the post.

Then Pennant danced through the Charlton defence and tried to slide a square ball back for Quincy when perhaps he should have shot. Whatever, the ball was hacked clear by the Charlton defence

After that, Pennant’s free-kick fell to Anthony Stokes at the far post but the 16-year-old Irishman’s swivelling shot was blocked.

It seemed Arsenal were taking control so Charlton’s equaliser was a body blow. Sam sent a left-wing cross toward the edge of the area and former Chelsea star Stuart rose to loop a header high into the corner of the net.

Charlton briefly threatened to complete their comeback but in fact Pennant came closest to the fifth goal of the game when his low, dipping free-kick was palmed aside by Anderson.

Though in the 90th minute Howard came out to block Long’s effort after the centre midfielder found space at the far post.

A good game and a fair result.
 

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Xtratime's Head of Humour 2007
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maybe we sent him home for christmas or even better perhaps he's being saved for a possible EPL debut over the holiday period. :shades:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Sent home for Christmas makes more sense. He's only 17, after all, and I don't think his family are with him in London.
 
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