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Last Updated: Sunday, 9 January, 2005, 15:53 GMT
Arsenal 2-1 Stoke
Goals from Jose Antonio Reyes and Robin van Persie helped Arsenal send Stoke City out of the FA Cup on Sunday.

Defender Wayne Thomas put the visitors ahead just before the break, blasting the ball in from six yards after Ade Akinbiyi's header was parried.

But Jose Antonio Reyes volleyed in a quickfire equaliser in the 50th minute.

Akinbiyi and Chris Greenacre came close to another for Stoke, but Van Persie drove in Jermaine Pennant's cross 20 minutes later to seal the win.

Although key players such as Thierry Henry, Freddie Ljungberg and Manuel Almuni were given the weekend off, Arsenal seemed firmly in control as the third round home tie got under way.

Robin van Persie had two long-range efforts in the first two minutes and Reyes' right-footed drive had to be blocked by Lewis Buxton early on.

Robert Pires and Pennant continually sliced the defence open as Stoke saw little possession.

But as Arsenal's frustration to turn chances into goals increased, Championship outfit City showed they were more than capable of a few surprises.

Lehmann had to be on form to parry lone striker Akinbiyi's left-footed shot after 10 minutes.

Then deep in first half stoppage time, Stoke shocked the home side when Thomas smashed the ball into the roof of the net from inside the box after Lehmann blocked Akinbiyi's drilled header.

The Gunners took just four minutes in the second half to find an equaliser as Reyes volleyed into the bottom left corner from 18 yards out.

But Arsenal were fortunate not to go behind again as Stoke looked more dangerous than their recent goalless form in the league suggested.

Greenacre nearly caused another scare for the Gunners when his shot had to be cleared off the line by Gael Clichy in the 61st minute.

But Akinbiyi, using his physical presence to great advantage, came closest for Stoke six minutes later, drilling a shot from 20 yards out, only to be denied by the crossbar.

However, Arsenal finally got the goal they sought in the 70th minute when Van Persie blasted Pennant's cross into the bottom right corner.

Stoke continued to battle forward in search of an equaliser but to no avail.

Akinbiyi's frustration was evident as he was booked for dissent after a foul on Kolo Toure in the 90th minute.

In the end though, Van Persie's strike was enough to put Arsenal into the fourth round of the FA Cup.


Arsenal: Lehmann, Eboue (Hoyte 71), Toure, Senderos, Clichy,Pennant, Fabregas, Vieira, Pires, Reyes, Van Persie.
Subs Not Used: Cygan, Almunia, Larsson, Owusu-Abeyie.

Booked: Fabregas.

Goals: Reyes 50, Van Persie 70.

Stoke: Simonsen, Thomas, Taggart, Buxton, Hall, Russell,Greenacre (Asaba 77), Halls (Henry 52), Clarke (Eustace 77),Akinbiyi, Jarrett.
Subs Not Used: de Goey, Noel-Williams.

Booked: Taggart, Eustace, Akinbiyi.

Goals: Thomas 45.

Att: 36,579

Ref: N Barry (N Lincolnshire).




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