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The BBC's John Murray
"It was the absent David Seaman who must have squirmed"
 real 28k

Saturday, 18 December, 1999, 17:47 GMT
Gunners grab a point

cort Carl Cort opens the scoring for Wimbledon


Arsenal 1-1 Wimbledon

A second-half recovery earned Arsenal a point after Wimbledon had threatened a shock victory at Highbury on Saturday.

The Dons took a bizarre seventh minute lead when Marcus Gayle's cross was met by Carl Cort, whose shot trickled over the line off both Alex Manniger's legs.


Match facts
7mins: Carl Cort grabs a shock lead
61 mins: Thierry Henry equalises for the home side
But Arsenal dominated possession and deservedly levelled in the 61st minute.

Brazilian Silvinho sprung the offside trap and his left-wing cross was fired home by Thierry henry.

Arsenal could have gone top of the Premiership if they had won and United dropped points at West Ham, but very early in the proceedings at both Highbury and Upton Park that looked a forlorn prospect.

Cort's strike in only the seventh minute was just the start Arsenal dreaded without their twin towers of central defensive strength, the flu-stricken Adams and injured Keown who was on the bench but still not fully fit after a calf injury.

Quick-fire start

Considering that Wimbledon's familiar aerial bombardment had started right from the kick-off, it was strange that they took the lead via an all-along-the-ground move.

Euell's ball put Marcus Gayle away in acres of space down the left and Cort stuck out a leg to improvise a stabbing shot which struck the flat-footed Alex Manninger on the shins and rolled, almost apologetically, over the line.


Andersen Thierry Henry moves part Andersen
Arsenal took a long time to recover from the shock and although Sullivan had to save well from Silvinho and Fredrik Ljungberg, the Dons twice had opportunities to increase their lead on the break.

Stop-gap centre backs Luzhny and Grimandi were always struggling to cope whenever Wimbledon broke up Arsenal's over-complicated attacks to launch counter-offences.

There was a new purpose about Arsenal in the second half, though, and after Kanu shot over, the Frenchman grabbed a splendid equaliser.

Overmars' wriggling run across the edge of the penalty area was capped by a neat pass to Winterburn who slipped the ball instantly through to Silvinho and the Brazilian opened up the Wimbledon defence with a perfect lay-off for Henry to tuck home.

Kanu came into his own, twisting and turning to try to manufacture the decisive strike but squandered the perfect chance to deliver it himself when heading over in the 75th minute, completely unmarked, from Henry's right-wing cross.

And Wimbledon found extra encouragement in their survival instinct when Suker fired wide with his right foot with the goal gaping in front of him as the busy Silvinho's cross came perfectly into his stride.

Teams:

Arsenal: Manninger, Dixon, Luzhny, Grimandi, Winterburn, Overmars, Ljungberg, Petit, Silvinho, Henry, Kanu. Subs: Keown, Suker, Hughes, Lukic, Vernazza.

Wimbledon:Sullivan, Cunningham, Andersen, Hreidarsson, Kimble, Earle, Roberts, Euell, Gayle, Hartson, Cort. Subs: Ardley, Heald, Hughes, Badir, Andresen.

Referee: G Barber (Tring, Herts)

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