Newcastle 2-2 Tottenham: Toons remain unbeaten
Shola Ameobi struck his first goal for five months to preserve Newcastle’s impressive unbeaten start to the season.
After Demba Ba had cancelled out Rafael van der Vaart’s opener, Spurs looked to have taken their fourth place spot when Jermain Defoe stepped off the bench to claim his fifth goal of the campaign. But local hero Ameobi was super sub for the hosts as he fired home a second leveller four minutes from time.
The double comeback was testament to Newcastle’s spirit this season where they have confounded the critics. Spurs had gained the breakthrough when Jake Livermore’s challenge allowed Emmanuel Adebayor to stretch his long legs and Steven Taylor sent him tumbling.
Van der Vaart finished coolly, sending fellow Dutch international Tim Krul the wrong way. The game desperately needed the goal. For all the effort, it lacked the sparkle to lift it from the mediocre.
And Newcastle soon took advantage of the absence of the defensive stalwart on whom Spurs have relied on for 13 years. Ledley King made his 300th start, but the occasion was soured as he went off with a groin problem in the 30th minute.
Sebastian Bassong replaced him and the former Newcastle defender had a difficult time on his old patch from the home crowd and Ba as the frontman was surprisingly left unmarked to guide home his fifth goal in three games.
Jonas Gutierrez deserved credit for the assist with old-fashioned wing play at its very best, swerving past Luka Modric and Kyle Walker.
Ryan Taylor was then caught napping looking for a throw that wasn’t given. Modric prodded the ball past him and set up van der Vaart. This time, Krul defied his compatriot.
It was a sign of Spurs taking control and Defoe had an instant impact replacing van der Vaart. Modric, Parker and Adebayor were involved and the frontman turned neatly on the edge of the box to sweep a low left-footer past Krul.
Having clawed their way back once, Newcastle felt they could do so again and created quick two chances. Both times Brad Friedel was defiant, tipping over a curling, dipping 20-yard strike from Cheik Tiote and then pushing away a fierce free kick from Ryan Taylor.
The Spurs backline was eventually breached when Yohan Cabaye fed Ameobi and he lashed a his effort shot past Friedel.
Yet there was still late drama as Krul brilliantly beat out a Defoe shot, Fabricio Coloccini twice could have made himself a Toon hero, but sliced wide.