Scott Marshall's Under-23s held Arsenal to a goalless draw in a Premier League International Cup encounter against the Gunners on Thursday night.
Marshall, a former Arsenal defender, has guided our Under-23s to some excellent results so far this season - winning seven of the last nine Premier League 2 games. And following a defeat to FC Porto in the opening tie in this competition, the Royals produced a solid display to take a point from a trip to the capital this week.
The game saw Tom McIntyre start his first Under-23s game of the season since being sidelined with a long-term injury last season, and Tennai Watson got another half an hour under his belt as he works his way back from a lengthy injury absence of his own.
Arsenal, meanwhile, were fielding six players in their starting eleven who have represented Arsene Wenger's first team this season, four of whom have played European football for the Gunners this season! But Danny Loader forced the first save of the game, breaking through on goal only to find Matt Macey in form to save from our World Cup winner early on.
Eddie Nketiah met Vlad Dragomir’s delivery after half an hour but could only send his effort just wide of the far post, and George Legg had to be alert to deny the lively Nketiah before the break.
Josh Barrett caused panic in the Arsenal area when his teasing cross flashed across the face of Macey’s goal but Joel Rollinson couldn’t get a telling touch to turn it home.
And Arsenal were denied by Legg just before the interval, Chuba Akpom cutting inside on his right and curling an effort into the Royals stopper's gloves.
Legg saved from Reiss Nelson with his legs in a second half that lacked too many clear cut chances - although Nketiah thought he'd stole victory for the host when he prodded in a rebound followign Legg's stop from Josh Dasilva ten minutes before the end, only for the offside flag to rule it out.
Both the Royals and the Gunners now face ties against Bayern Munich this month as the competition's group stage comes to an end - we will host the German giants at Adams Park on Friday 8th December!
Arsenal: Macey, Osei-Tutu, Dragomir, Sheaf, Debuchy (Smith Rowe 65), Pleguezuelo (c), Nketiah, Dasilva, Akpom (Medley 65), Willock, Nelson.
Subs: Bola, Keto, Gilmour.
Yellow: Sheaf, DaSilva
Reading: Legg, Holmes, Osho (c), McIntyre, Richards (Medford-Smith 64), East, Watson (Sheppard 30), Holsgrove, Barrett, Rollinson, Loader.
Subs: Howe, Shokunbi, Rosario, Green, Nolan.