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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 September, 2003, 15:56 GMT 16:56 UK
Pompey deny Arsenal
Pompey forward Teddy Sheringham
Arsenal 1-1 Portsmouth

Portsmouth continued their impressive start to life in the Premiership with a determined draw away to Arsenal.

Teddy Sheringham put Portsmouth ahead midway through the first half with his fifth goal of the season.

Arsenal equalised through a debatable penalty from Thierry Henry that had to be retaken.

The Gunners were far from their best although they had several chances to extend their perfect start to the seaon, but Harry Redknapp's side held on for a vital point.

Portsmouth went into the game unbeaten and in third place in the Premiership.

But a trip to Highbury was expected to provide a sterner test of their top-flight credentials.

If their first-half performance is anything to go by Pompey will have few worries this season.

They hassled and harried Arsene Wenger's side, preventing them from playing their usual free-flowing game.

At the other end Portsmouth caused Arsenal's back four all manner of problems.

KEY MOMENTS
26 mins: Pompey go in front from a Sheringham header
37 mins: Henry equalises from the penalty spot after Pires is felled
Patrick Berger fired in a free-kick just wide within a couple of minutes of the start, Nigel Quashie blazed over the top and Arjan De Zeeuw also tried his luck as Pompey came out firing.

It took 20 minutes before Arsenal managed their first meaningful attacking contribution, with the recalled Ray Parlour shooting over the bar.

Sol Campbell was also back in the Arsenal side but the England centre-half had a game to forget.

He was booked for a foul on Quashie and given a torrid time throughout by striker Yakubu Ayegbini.

The opening goal came from sloppy play by Arsenal as they gave the ball away in their own area.

Steve Stone got behind Ashley Cole before crossing for former Spurs and Manchester United forward Sheringham to head home and give the Highbury fans another reason to dislike him.

There were signs of frustrations in the Arsenal side as Patrick Vieira appeared to get away with an elbow as Pompey's fans started singing "we're going to win the league".

Their joy lasted barely 10 minutes as Arsenal equalised in controversial circumstances.

Dejan Stevanovic's attempt to tackle Robert Pires was clumsy but there looked barely enough contact as the Frenchman crashed to the ground.

Henry's first effort was ruled out for a player encroaching into the area, but the French striker kept his cool to make it second time lucky.

It was a more recognisable Arsenal side that came out for the second half.

Parlour went close twice, while Shaka Hislop was finally called into action to deny Dennis Bergkamp (twice), an Edu free-kick and a header from Henry.

Arsenal threatened until the final whistle and should have grabbed the winner through defender Kolo Toure, but he was unable to turn home from a corner.

The Gunners remain in top spot but they will consider it two points dropped.


Arsenal: Lehmann, Lauren, Campbell, Toure, Cole, Pires, Vieira, Parlour, Edu (Ljungberg 70), Henry, Bergkamp (Wiltord 74).
Subs Not Used: Keown, Aliadiere, Stack.

Booked: Campbell, Toure.

Portsmouth: Hislop, Schemmel, De Zeeuw, Stefanovic, Zivkovic, Stone, Faye, Quashie, Berger (Smertin 34), Sheringham (Sherwood 90), Ayegbini (Roberts 72).
Subs Not Used: Foxe, Wapenaar.

Booked: De Zeeuw, Stefanovic, Schemmel.

Attendance: 38,052.

Referee: A Wiley (Staffordshire).




WATCH AND LISTEN
BBC Five Live's John Murray
"The first doubts of the season have surfaced at Highbury"


Portsmouth scorer Teddy Sheringham
"We had enough chances to come away with three points"




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