Magpies held by plucky Pompey

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Michael Owen wasted the chance to secure a precious victory for Newcastle as Alan Shearer's side were edged ever closer to the Barclays Premier League relegation trapdoor after a 0-0 draw against Porsmouth.

The 29-year-old failed to beat England team-mate David James one-on-one after being played in by Mark Viduka on a night when both sides could have claimed all three points.

James had earlier saved from Damien Duff, and Viduka and Obafemi Martins both went close on a night when the Magpies needed all three points to rekindle their hopes of Barclays Premier League survival.

Alan Smith, still waiting for his first goal in a black and white shirt, had optimistic appeals for a penalty waved away by referee Mike Riley when his driven 30th-minute shot was blocked by Hermann Hreidarsson's arm, and the former Manchester United midfielder fired just over five minutes later.

That they went in at half-time with nothing to show for their efforts was down to a combination of poor finishing, good defending and one excellent save from Shearer's former England team-mate James.

Fabricio Coloccini endured a heart-stopping moment when Crouch went to ground inside the box under his 50th-minute challenge but, again, Riley was in no mood to award a spot-kick.

James was alert enough to prevent Martins from reaching a long ball four minutes later, if only just, but, as the game became increasingly stretched, play switched rapidly from end to end.

The Pompey keeper almost handed Newcastle a glorious chance on a plate when he dropped Duff's cross with Viduka and Owen close at hand, although he redeemed himself with 63 minutes gone.

Viduka managed to squeeze the ball through the Portsmouth defence, despite having been wrestled to the ground, to leave Owen with just the keeper to beat, but James blocked with his legs to leave Shearer with his head in his hands.

However, it might have been even worse for Shearer's men with Peter Crouch firing straight at Steve Harper with 11 minutes remaining and Richard Hughes heading against the foot of the post three minutes later.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Richard Hughes
David James
Hermann Hreidarsson
Alan Smith
Steve Harper
Michael Owen
Premier League
Fabricio Coloccini
Peter Crouch
Newcastle United
Alan Shearer
Manchester United
Obafemi Martins
Damien Duff
Mark Viduka

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