Pires denies Spurs derby win
By Lee Walker. Last Updated: October 29, 2005 2:50pm
Robert Pires scored at White Hart Lane for the fifth season in succession to deny Tottenham a rare North London derby victory.
Spurs had looked destined for their first victory over their arch rivals for six years after captain Ledley King headed home unmarked in the 17th minute.
But half-time substitute Pires was yet again Tottenham's bete noire as he swept home 13 minutes from time after England goalkeeper Paul Robinson flapped at a Dennis Bergkamp cross.
And it was The Gunners, for so long an anaemic attacking force, that had the better chances to steal the points at the end of a tetchy affair that saw six players booked and Arsenal keeper Jens Lehmann apparently struck with a coin thrown from the crowd.
Martin Jol's side dominated the first half and were unlucky that King's bullet header from six yards following Michael Carrick's free kick was the sole effort to show for their domination.
Carrick hit a rasping 25-yeard shot just wide of the left post with Lehmann beaten and the German custodian had to be sharp to tip Jermaine Jenas' long-range effort over the bar.
And Jenas was inches away from turning in a cross on the brink of half time after some great trickery from Jermain Defoe on the left flank.
The visitors, minus the injured Thierry Henry, were ineffectual as an attacking force in the opening period and did not muster a shot on goal although King denied Jose Antonio Reyes a clear sight of goal with a superb recovery tackle early on and Carrick had to nip in to deny Cesc Fabregas a shooting opportunity at the back post.
Pires replaced the ineffective Mathieu Flamini at the interval but it was Spurs who were again looking more likely to add to their lead and former Spurs skipper Sol Campbell, whose every touch was predictably met by jeers from the home fans, had to come across to curtail Defoe's surging run and shot.
It was the 65th minute introduction of Robin van Persie that finally invigorated Arsene Wenger's men and he immediately called Robinson into action but the home keeper saved one-handed to his left.
Moments later he toe-poked Pires' superb long pass narrowly past the right post and it was the French winger who would ensure that Arsenal would gain only their second away point in The Premiership this season with a crisp finish into an empty net from 12 yards.
In the final ten minutes, Michael Dawson twice made crucial blocks to deny van Persie and Reyes' goalbound efforts finding their target, ensuring matters would finish all-square.
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