Reserves go down at Arsenal

Arsenal reserves 2-0 West Ham United reserves

West Ham United saw their 2007/08 campaign end on a low note as they went down 2-0 at Arsenal but Kevin Keen's men can hold their heads high after a strong campaign.

The visitors were undone by first-half goals from Rui Fonte and Jack Wilshere, with the latter sealing a man of the match display with his stunning strike from 20 yards that gave Marek Stech little chance. The United goalkeeper was back in Keen's lineup for the first time since 23 January and produced several fine stops to keep the home side at bay while Tony Stokes had the best of the chances for the visitors when he smashed a shot against the post midway through the second half.

With Aston Villa drawing 1-1 at home against Chelsea, the result at Barnet's Underhill home this evening was largely academic. Villa moved three points clear of United and still have one more match to play - against Arsenal next Tuesday. The only other challengers for the Barclays Premier Reserve League southern section title are Reading, who are five points adrift and have two games left themselves.

United's attacking options were increased before the game when Jack Jeffery returned from Cambridge United, having scored and made one in a 2-0 win for the Football League promotion hopefuls at the end of his loan spell last Saturday. Jeffery played alongside Tony Stokes, again operating in an advanced position. Although both worked hard, they were up against an imposing defence and most of the visitors' attacking intent came on the left flank via the right-footed Junior Stanislas - who gave Armand Traore plenty to think about.

Stanislas had a succession of first-half corners to pile on the pressure but was more effective from open play. Arsenal always had the edge though and were the first to strike for goal when Nacer Barazite fired in on Stech on five minutes but missed the target. Five minutes later, Fonte was shaking his head in disbelief after a wonder save by Stech when an Arsenal free-kick fell into his path just eight yards out. It was to be the 19th minute before United's first real chance, Stanislas firing in a piledriver that was just deflected wide.

Arsenal soon stepped up a gear though. Wilshere split the United central defence of Josh Payne - back after a three-match suspension - and Bondz 'Gala with a fine pass. Fonte ran on to it and smashed beyond Stech. A quarter-of-an-hour later the home side doubled their advantage when Wilshere ran at Ashley Miller before unleashing a curling effort that again gave Stech no chance to save. Unsurprisingly, the 16-year-old midfielder's goal had the watching Arsene Wenger smiling.

United had some moments before half-time, notably when Jeffery's shot was blocked just as it looked set to trouble Vito Mannone in the home goal but Nacer Barazite and substitute Gilles Sunu, just on for Abou Diaby, also had their moments. The visitors were a different proposition after the break, with Stanislas and Stokes firing in on goal only to be denied. Jack Collison, back as reserve-team captain after a spell with the first team, was also getting on the ball more.

Just before the hour, Stokes hit the post after Stanislas's corner had Mannone in all sorts of bother but the ball rebounded safely into the keeper's grasp. Stanislas underlined his superb performance on 62 minutes with a lovely piece of control before firing in a shot that Mannone did well to stop. The final 20 minutes saw both teams make their final changes and create few chances on goal. Regardless of the result, Keen's young team can be proud of their efforts over the whole season.

Arsenal: Mannone, Rodgers, Nordtveit, Ogogo, G Hoyte, Wilshere (Murphy 84), Thomas, Diaby (Sunu 42), Traore, Barazite, Fonte (Steer 73)
Subs: Szczesny, Murphy

West Ham United: Stech, Spence, Payne (Ashman 88), 'Gala, Miller, Stanislas (Lee 76), Harvey (Edgar 66), Collison, Kearns, Jeffery, Stokes
Subs: Street, O'Neill