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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 December, 2003, 16:54 GMT
Bolton hold Arsenal
Bolton 1-1 Arsenal
Henrik Pedersen celebrates scoring Bolton's equaliser
Saturday's other matches

Substitute Henrik Pedersen came off the bench to earn Bolton a deserved point and frustrate the Premiership leaders.

Robert Pires did put Arsenal ahead in the second half after Freddie Ljungberg's shot was saved following a Thierry Henry break.

But Gunners keeper Jens Lehmann was forced into several fine stops before Pedersen equalised with an unstoppable shot close to the final whistle.

A draw was no less than Bolton deserved after another gritty, hard-working performance.

Arsenal remain unbeaten in the Premiership this season, and stay top but will be disappointed to have conceded their first goal since Craig Hignett scored for Leicester on 6 December.

Bolton's confident performance reflected their recent fine form, and they started well again.

Okocha won an early corner for the home team and Kevin Davies forced an early save from Lehmann with a well drilled shot from 15 yards.

Youri Djorkaeff shot over the Gunners crossbar from 12 yards after Okocha and Per Frandsen combined to create space for the French striker.

KEY MOMENTS
32 mins: Lehmann saves from Davies
57 mins: Pires scores for Arsenal
59 mins: Okocha hits the woodwork
83 mins: Pedersen brilliantly equalises
Shortly afterwards Kevin Nolan opened up the Arsenal defence with a neat turn and his superb shot was brilliantly saved by Lehmann.

Ivan Campo then rounded young Arsenal left-back Gael Clinchy with an exquisite piece of skill but Davies could not quite reach the Spaniard's subsequent driven ball across the six yard box.

All Arsenal could muster in the opening half was two half chances by Thierry Henry, both of which missed the target - and a devastating counter attack on the stroke of half-time that almost resulted in a goal.

Patrick Vieira glided past Campo in midfield and slipped the ball to Henry, whose cross from the right was headed narrowly wide by Freddie Ljungberg.

Arsenal stepped up the tempo after the break, with the Gunners' midfield finally seeing some of the ball.

Simon Charlton did superbly to thwart Henry, who was bearing down on goal at full pace with the Bolton defender as the last man.

But Arsenal's improved second-half performance eventually resulted in the opening goal.

Ljungberg's shot was parried by Jussi Jaaskelainen into the path of Pires, who made no mistake from eight yards.

The move had started with Dennis Bergkamp dispossessing Ricardo Gardner - angering the home supporters who felt their player had been fouled.

Okocha almost restored parity with a superb free-kick that shaved the edge of the Arsenal post on its way out of play.

Frandsen's lob after a poor punch by Lehmann appeared goalbound, but Pires made a crucial defensive header as Bolton pushed for an equaliser.

And their pressure throughout the match was ultimately rewarded when Pedersen deservedly equalised.

Pascal Cygan's defensive header fell to the Danish substitute, who smashed the ball past Lehmann with an unstoppable left-footed drive from 20 yards.


Bolton: Jaaskelainen, Hunt, Thome, Charlton, Gardner, Campo (Ba 78), Nolan (Pedersen 75), Frandsen, Okocha, Djorkaeff, Davies.
Subs Not Used: Poole, Barness, Giannakopoulos.

Booked: Campo, Nolan.

Arsenal: Lehmann, Toure, Campbell, Cygan, Clichy, Ljungberg, Silva, Vieira, Pires, Henry, Bergkamp (Parlour 69).
Subs Not Used: Keown, Edu, Kanu, Stack.

Booked: Vieira, Henry.

Attendance: 28,003.

Referee: G Poll (Hertfordshire).




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's Steve Wilson
"This was a gigantic match played in terrible conditions"


Bolton boss Sam Allardyce
"We're very, very pleased with our point"


Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger
"Bolton deserved something out of this game"



ALSO IN THIS SECTION Man City fall to defeat at Everton
Tuesday football -as it happened
Man Utd 2-0 Stoke
Swansea 1-1 Chelsea

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