(Ba – 48, Amoebi – 86)
(Van der Vaart – 40, Defoe – 68)
Shola Ameobi executed a stunning strike four minutes from time that saw Newcastle United extend their unbeaten start to the season after coming from behind twice in an enthralling 2-2 draw at St. James’ Park.
Harry Redknapp made only one change from the Tottenham side that beat Arsenal two weeks with Jake Livermore coming in to partner Scott Parker in the midfield, at the expense of Jermain Defoe.
A cagey first half from both teams as both Newcastle and Spurs failed to muster any real opportunities early on while Emmanuel Adebayor was proving a real handful for the Newcastle defence but the giant Togolese forward twice failed to make his prescense in the box count, first failing to find Rafael Van der Vaart in the box before falling just short of the Dutchman’s cross.
Meanwhile, Brad Friedel was on hand in the Spurs net denying both a Ryan Taylor free-kick and Demba Ba’s headed effort as the home side looked to claw their way back into the game.
Redknapp was then forced into making his first change of the afternoon, Ledley King pulling up with what appeared to be an abductor muscle strain before being replaced by former Newcastle defender Sebastien Bassong, much to the anger of the home support who jeered the Cameroon international the minute he stepped onto the pitch.
And with Newcastle seemingly beginning to take the initiative, Spurs managed to steal a march on their opponents after Livemore put Adebayor through, only to be fouled by Stephen Taylor. After much deliberation, referee Lee Probert pointed to the spot, much to the dismay of the Geordie faithful, which was duly converted by Rafael Van der Vaart, who sent Tim Krul the wrong way.
Nonetheless, the scores were level again three minutes after the break, Jonas Gutierrez dodging the challenges of both Luka Modric and Kyle Walker before delivering a delightful floated ball across the box to find the un-marked Ba who dutifully bundled the ball across the Spurs line to make it 1-1.
Modric then took it upon himself to take a stranglehold of the fixture, twice running from deep to threaten to the Newcastle defence with his second finding Adebayor in the box who, from a tight angle, saw the ball trickle wide of Krul’s goal.
Moments later, the Croatian broke into the box down the right-hand side before finding Van der Vaart but his tame effore was comfortably caught by Krul.
Defoe replaced Van der Vaart after 63 minutes and came close to making an instant impact after combining well with Parker and Gareth Bale but the Newcastle ‘keeper was quickly off his line to deny the England hit-man.
Nonetheless, the former Portsmouth and West Ham man wasn’t to be denied five minutes later, trapping a Parker ball, which took a deflection off Adebayor, holding off a Ryan Taylor challenge before turning and firing past Krul into the bottom corner in a typical Defoe finish.
Alan Pardew reposnded by throwing Hatem Ben Arfa and Ameobi into the mix but it wasn’t until the 80th minute that Newcastle threatened again, Cheik Tiote’s piledriving effort tipped over the bar by Friedel, who in turn was on-hand to thwart a Taylor free-kick moments later.
However, there was little the American could do in the 86th minute as Ameobi galloped past Kyle Walker before launching an un-stoppable drive into the bottom far corner, sending the home crowd into a frenzy.
Modric again attempted to alter the parity once more but his tame effort was equalled by Krul while the young Dutchman was on hand to deny Defoe after Steven Taylor did well to block his initial effort.
With five minutes of added time signalled by the fourth official, Newcastle sensed the game was there for the taking but the only clear-cut opportunity fell to Fabricio Coloccini who failed to hit the target after his quick turn in the six-yard box.
Nevertheless, with the home side looking more threatening in the closing encounters, the Spurs defence dug deep and held on for their first draw of the season.
“When you’re 2-1 up in the 80-whatever minute you’re looking for the three points, that’s for sure,” Redknapp said after the game.
“This is always a tough place to come and they’re unbeaten this year so they’re a tough side, but we were in a position to finish them off and at 2-1 I felt very comfortable.
“We were looking to get forward more and I thought we could go on and nick another goal.
“We got in some great positions on the break, but didn’t pick the right ball or whatever.”