Date: 17th September 2008 at 7:52am
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Our experienced reserves were beaten 1-0 by a youthful Arsenal side at Westleigh Park last night. Several 1st team players continued their returns from injury, with others getting some valuable playing time under the belts as well though.

This is the official report from the Pompey Site

PLAY UP POMPEY!

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RESERVES PAY THE PENALTY

Pompey Reserves 0 Arsenal Reserves 1

A dubious penalty saw Pompey Reserves defeated by their Arsenal counterparts at Westleigh Park. Both sides had plenty of chances in an open game, but in the end just one goal was enough for the visitors to claim all three points.

Paul Groves named an experienced side with Glen Little, David Nugent and Kanu all featuring after returning from injury.

Arsenal’s team on the other hand, was filled with youth but it was the visitors who had the first decent chance to open the scoring.

Rui Fonte received the ball in the Pompey box but as he shaped to shoot, James Hurst slid in with a perfectly timed tackle to dispossess the Gunners striker.

At the other end, Nugent raced onto Arnold Mvuemba’s brilliant through ball but his low drive was comfortably held by Vito Mannone.

Then, on nine minutes, Matt Ritchie stung the fingertips of the Gunners goalie with a fiercely-struck effort from 25-yards.

Arsenal were playing plenty of neat passing football but Jamie Ashdown was given little to worry about in the Pompey goal. Henri Lansbury finally fired in a shot on 30 minutes but the ball drifted harmlessly wide of the post.

Mannone was enjoying a comfortable evening as well, although he was called into action on 37 minutes to keep out Marlon Pack’s strike from the edge of the area.

Ritchie almost broke the deadlock just before the interval but his angled drive flew agonisingly past the post.

Mannone then denied Nugent from point-blank range after a Blues corner caused havoc in the Arsenal area.

Half Time: Pompey 0 Arsenal 0

Noe Pamarot should have done better on 51 minutes when he headed Little’s free-kick against the post from three yards out, but the Frenchman’s blushes were spared by the linesman’s flag.

Moments later, Ritchie raced onto Mvuemba’s pin-point pass and advanced on goal but his fierce shot was expertly parried clear by Mannone.

The visitors had an opportunity of their own when Mvuemba gifted possession to Martin Randall. Ashdown had to get down low to his right to keep out the midfielder’s effort.

The Blues keeper made a brilliant block on 61 minutes to keep the scores level. He raced off his line to deny Jay Simpson after the striker had latched onto to Mannone’s long clearance.

But Ashdown had to rely on the woodwork soon after. He could do nothing about Fran Merida Perez’s 20-yard free-kick that smashed against the crossbar.

Pompey were still looking to snatch victory themselves and Mvuemba had a shot deflected inches past the post, while Marlon Pack headed just wide from the resulting corner.

However, it was the visitors who took the lead in controversial circumstances on 77 minutes. Ashdown and Simpson both raced for the ball in the Pompey box. The Blues keeper appeared to win the ball but also sent Simpson crashing to the ground. Referee Gary Jerden pointed straight to the spot and Simpson picked himself up to successfully convert the spot-kick.

Pompey: Ashdown; Hurst, Wilson (c), Pamarot, D Traore; Little, Pack (Kilbey 67), Mvuemba, Ritchie (N’Lundulu 78); Kanu, Nugent
Booked: Traore, Pamarot
Subs not used: Stewart, Reynolds, Sowah

Arsenal: Mannone; Ogogo, Hoyte (c), Bartley, Gibbs (Henderson 77); Dunne (Rodgers 56), Randall, Perez, Lansbury (Steer 74); Simpson, Fonte
Goals: Simpson (pen) 76
Booked: Steer
Subs not used: Szczesny, Murphy

Referee: Gary Jerden

Attendance: 363

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