In a very even first half two in-form teams have been unable to score against each other in the first 45 minutes.
Newcastle made a confident start to this game and were immediately attacking Portsmouth, who returned to Fratton Park for the first time since reaching the FA Cup Final.
On a sunny afternoon on the south coast it was certainly a carnival atmosphere and a fine day for good football. Newcastle had England Under-21 captain returning after suffering a bout of food poisoning last Saturday.
A Geremi free kick after just 5 minutes was well taken by goalkeeper James, in front of the watching England manager Fabio Capello.
The first 15 minutes was a good start by the Magpies who were passing the ball around well, but without ever being able to make a clear cut chance.
On 23 minutes Harper was quick off his line to cut off a fine through pass by Kranjcar, who was causing Newcastle some trouble on the left wing.
Then on 29 minutes Viduka was through on the right, with Martins in oceans of room in the center. But Markâ€™s cross come shot was between Martins and James and went through for a goal kick. Viduka should have picked out Martins, and he knew it. It was an excellent chance lost.
The Newcastle full backs were finding it difficult to come forward, because of the strength of Portsmouth wingers and Beye made his only run forward after 39 minutes. Geremi and Beye were fighting hard to contain Kranjcar, who was in good form.
Newcastle are still in this game with a chance of victory, but they will need to raise their game in the second half, and must try to get their full backs forward in support of the attack.
But in the first half there was really nothing between the two sides, who were both playing well.
The game is delicately balanced on a knife edge at the interval.
Portsmouth: David James, Glen Johnson, Herman Hreidarsson, Sol Campbell (c), Sylvain Distin, Papa Bouba Diop, Sean Davis, Sulley Muntari, Niko Kranjcar, Nwanko Kanu, Jermain Defoe
Subs: Lauren, David Nugent, Richard Hughes, Pedro Mendes, Asmir Begovic
Newcastle United: Steve Harper, Habib Beye, Jose Enrique, Abdoulaye Faye, Steven Taylor, Nicky Butt, Geremi, Joey Barton, Oba Martins, Michael Owen (c), Mark Viduka
Subs: Fraser Forster, Damien Duff, Alan Smith, David Edgar, Andy Carroll
Referee: Phil Dowd