posted on Oct, 24 2004 @ 04:52 PM
Manchester United proved to be Arsenal's nemesis in their pursuit of a 50th unbeaten league game, Ruud van Nistelrooy and Wayne Rooney scoring.
The Old Trafford battle was predictably tetchy, with the first half cluttered with late tackles and confrontations. However, United upped the tempo
after the break and with the visitors increasingly on the back foot, Sol Campbell was tricked into a foul on Rooney in the box. Ruud van Nistelrooy
was faced with a familiar scenario - a late penalty against Arsenal at home in the Premiership. But there was no repeat of last season's failure as
the Dutchman coolly scored, and Sir Alex Ferguson's men kept the determined Gunners at bay for the rest of the half. That provided a platform for
Rooney to round off an uplifiting evening for United as substitute Alan Smith got down the right to lay a square ball across for the teenager to slot
home. So Arsenal's record run ends on 49 and United climb to fifth, within eight points of the Premiership leaders.
Elsewhere controversial striker Craig Bellamy brought an eventful week to a remarkable conclusion by claiming an 89th-minute winner for Newcastle in a
seven-goal thriller against Manchester City. England hopeful Shaun Wright-Phillips looked to have snatched a point for the visitors with his
77th-minute strike, but the Welshman claimed the points at the death with a clinical fiinish to make it 4-2 and move the magpies up to sixth in the
table. Kevin Keegan's former club looked to be flying after Laurent Robert's superb 49th-minute free-kick and a 56th-minute Alan Shearer penalty put
them two up, but Wright-Phillips sparked an unlikely fightback with a 64th-minute strike and substitute Robbie Fowler levelled from the spot three
minutes later, only for Robbie Elliott's header to creep home two minutes later.
Southampton clawed their way off the bottom after a bitty 0-0 draw with Birmingham. The Saints, still to win under head coach Steve Wigley, did have
the better of the first half and Dexter Blackstock's header bounced off the top of the crossbar. But the visitors, this season's draw specialists
having arrived at St Mary's on the back of four successive stalemates, improved after the break. And only a superb diving stop from keeper Antii Niemi
denied a winning volley from David Dunn.
Stewart Downing's late strike cancelled out Diomansy Kamara's fine effort as Middlesbrough and Portsmouth shared the spoils at The Riverside. The
in-form Boro youngster rifled home a shot from 18 yards 16 minutes from time to earn Steve McClaren's side the point their attacking football
deserved. Portsmouth took the lead as early as the fourth minute when Kamara embarked on a mazy run which ended with a low left-footed strike past
Mark Schwarzer. But Harry Redknapp's troops were on the back foot for the rest of the second half and Shaka Hislop produced fine saves to deny Downing
and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, while Yakubu cleared a Szilard Nemeth header off the line. The Boro domination continued after the break, with
Hasselbaink, George Boateng and Nemeth all going close before Downing pounced. Mark Viduka had a glorious chance to grab a winner as time ran out, but
Hislop pushed his header onto the underside of the bar before the ball was scrambled away to safety.