By Chief Sports Writer, Marley Anderson

Gareth Bale scored twice as he turned a performance of the highest quality to see off Newcastle United at White Hart Lane. The Welshman’s early free-kick gave the home side the lead and despite Yoan Gouffran’s equaliser later in the half, Bale notched again and moved Spurs up to third in the Premier League table.

Newcastle simply had no answer for Bale, as the winger ran the show for the home side and was central to everything Spurs did.

The difference between the sides was the way they coped with each other’s star players. Newcastle didn’t have a plan for Bale and couldn’t handle him, while Scott Parker kept Moussa Sissoko under wraps and didn’t let him have the same impact that he had against Chelsea and Aston Villa.

Alan Pardew – rather predictably – named an unchanged starting line-up, with James Perch keeping his place in midfield ahead of the benched Cheick Tiote.

Newcastle were hoping to pick up where they left off against Chelsea last week, when one of the final actions was Sissoko’s winner.

However, it was a slow start for the Magpies, who looked sluggish out of the blocks and were overran by the home side in the early stages. Bale was instantly the focal point of Spurs’ attacks, teasing Mathieu Debuchy down the left flank before firing a superb low cross into the area, only for Clint Dempsey to fail to connect when seemingly perfectly positioned.

Spurs only had to wait three more minutes for the opener though, as Newcastle struggled to get a foothold on proceedings.

Dempsey won a free-kick in a dangerous area as he used his body well to roll Fabricio Coloccini. Bale stepped up from 25 yards and struck it beautifully over a non-existent Newcastle wall, leaving Krul with no chance as it settled in the bottom corner.

The goal seemed to allow Newcastle to settle down and get into the match, as they began to show signs of the quality they produced last week. Gouffran was impressing with his movement and touch, while Yohan Cabaye tried to unlock the Spurs defence whenever he could.

Sissoko was tightly shackled by Scott Parker for most of the game, a sign of how impressive he has been in his first three games in England. But Sissoko did manage to escape the former Newcastle man’s attention and it led to Newcastle’s equaliser.

The former Toulouse man found space down the right and after stretching to get a cross in, the loose ball fell to Gouffran. The striker powered a shot towards the far corner but a major deflection off Michael Dawson sent the effort flying into the other corner.

Spurs responded by feeding their wingers at every opportunity, something made easier by Newcastle’s ambitious full backs. Debuchy in particular was roaming forward at every opportunity but not receiving the ball, leaving Bale with acres of space.

Lewis Holtby went close with a curling effort on his first start for his new club, but the English-born Germany international’s strike flew just over Tim Krul’s crossbar.

Newcastle’s full backs seemed to attack less in the second half, perhaps a sign of containing Bale, and as a result the match looked visibly tighter. Neither side was creating clear-cut chances, as the teams cancelled each other out in the final third.

The game ultimately changed after the hour though, when a seemingly innocuous incident signalled the end of Gouffran’s game. The striker was caught by Kyle Walker’s follow through and it left the Frenchman with a nasty cut on the shin, leading to him being stretchered off. It was later confirmed Gouffran was on his way to the hospital for a scan, as the cut looked very close to the striker’s tibia (shin bone).

After a lengthy stoppage affected the tempo of the match, it looked like both sides were destined for a point, only for Bale to snatch a winner with 12 minutes remaining. A harmless punt from Walker looked to be causing no problems for the visiting defence, only for Coloccini to misjudge the pace of the ball and allow Bale to streak clear. The Welshman kept his composure to slot through Krul’s legs and bag his fourth goal in his last three Premier League games.

Substitute Shola Ameobi could have snatched a point at the death for Newcastle but was denied by a brilliant Hugo Lloris save and despite a frantic end to the seven minutes of stoppage time, neither side added to the scoreboard.