Reading’s fourth goal from Noel Hunt was their first of two headers out their 5 goals and was probably their best of the game. Hunt found the net in the 37th minute from a deflected cross, driven in by Garath McCleary. The power and direction on the header left Arsenal goalkeeper Damian Martinez with no hope of saving it.
Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud got his head on the end of a corner swung in from the right by Theo Walcott in the 64th minute of the game – Arsenal’s second of their sensational comeback.
The Frenchman did exceptionally well to get on the end of the ball which was just a fraction too low for him but the Gunners’ summer signing adjusted his position and stooped to meet the cross, directing it elegantly beyond unfortunate Reading stopper Federici.
Arsenal’s second header of the game came in the 89th minute of the game from Laurent Koscielny who scored at both ends – his first an own goal from a ball whipped in by Chris Gunter in the 18th minute.
Koscielny’s header just before full-time bagged Arsenal their 3rd with another goal from a corner, this time sent in on the left by Walcott. The Frenchman aimed low and snatched the ball from the net to run back to the restart, atoning for his deflected own goal earlier in the game.
Marouane Chamahk thought he’d won the game – twice – he scored his first, a fine strike from 30 yards out driven low into the bottom left hand corner of the Reading goal, giving his side their first lead of the game in extra time, it was 4-5 to Arsenal after 103 minutes.
But Reading’s second header of the game came from substitute Pavel Pogrebnyak, equalizing in relatively unspectacular fashion in the 116th minute.
Arsenal’s reply was Theo Walcott’s third – Andrey Arshavin’s angular strike was scrambled off the goal-line but Walcott made no mistake as he followed in on 120 minutes.
My pick of the crop has to be between Walcott’s first and Chamakh’s second which were very similar. I’m going for the Englishman’s – not only because it started off the comeback but also because it was probably the most efficient and well executed finish of the match.
Arshavin intercepted the ball on the halfway line and released a perfectly weighted ball through to Walcott who timed his run to perfection. His pace took his strides ahead of the Reading defender and one-on-one with the goalkeeper he was composed as he chipped the keeper.
In similar fashion, the last goal of the game came from Chamakh; another lob over Federici, except this had come from a long ball cleared up field as Reading made their final attempt to get another equalizer. A good goal – as many of them were – but on this occasion Walcott’s first gets my first prize award of Goal of the Game.
image: © crystian cruz