Newcastle United made a perfect start to their Premier League season, as they ensured Andre Villas-Boas made a losing start to his reign as Tottenham manager. Goals from Demba Ba and a penalty from Hatem Ben Arfa came either side of Jermain Defoe’s second goal in four days as the Magpies held on for maximum points.

Alan Pardew had a selection headache before kick-off, with a number of key players struggling to be fully fit in time for the first whistle. Cheick Tiote, Yohan Cabaye and Hatem Ben Arfa were all far from full match fitness, whilst Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba had only returned to training this week. Add to that the departure of Shola Ameobi in the warm up and this could have been a recipe for a disastrous opening day for the Geordies.

However, despite the visitors controlling large parts of the first 45 minutes, it was the lack of clinical finishing that stopped Spurs taking the lead. Gylfi Sigurdsson went close but Tim Krul was on hand to deny the former Swansea attacker a debut goal as the Iceland international sprung the offside trap.

The visitors came even closer on two more occasions when they were denied by the goal frame. First, Defoe stabbed a low shot back off the base of the post, before Gareth Bale headed an Aaron Lennon cross back off the crossbar. The home side were hanging on for the break, as they looked seriously off the pace.

Some strong words from Pardew at half-time seemed to do the trick though, and the Magpies looked much more of a threat in the second period. In fact, it took just ten minutes of the restart for them to take the lead. Danny Simpson’s cross wasn’t dealt with by Walker and the rebound dropped to Ba, who swivelled and curled a powerful effort past Friedel.

Despite his side being a goal up, Pardew still found a reason to be annoyed when he disputed a throw-in decision with the linesman, resulting in a slight shove and the Newcastle boss being sent to watch the rest of the match from the directors box.

His mood won’t have been helped by what he saw 20 minutes later either. Defoe’s shot was deflected and palmed onto the post by Krul, only for the England striker to smash home the rebound and level the scores.

Newcastle would likely have been happy with a point in all honesty, although just five minutes after Defoe had struck, Tottenham self-destructed and conceded a penalty. Ben Arfa, unsurprisingly, was the instigator, tricking his way into the area before being the meat in a Van Der Vaart-Lennon sandwich. After a brief discussion between the Frenchman and Ba, it was Ben Arfa who stepped up and coolly sent Friedel the wrong way to give Newcastle the three points.

By Chief Sports Writer Marley Anderson

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  1. garbonza

    Magpies goals were both against the run of play and should have been nullified by Spurs hitting the woodwork twice but all the luck was running with Newcastle. How many deliberate professional fouls does Cabaye need to commit to get past a yellow card? I counted at least three, but maybe the last one was just an affectionate hug around Bale's waist.

  2. Kev5381

    We’re even better than last season in two ways!!
    One game in and we have 2 more points than we did last year after playing a top four side and
    We’ve beat the spuds for the first time in an age!

    Even tho we where nowhere near our best you can see that this club is stronger, faster & more together!!!

    Bring on europe & chelsea next week cos we have nuhin to fear!!!!
    TOON TOON!!!!

  3. gold price

    What a fantastic goal from Demba Ba, who controls a bouncing ball before stroking it over and around Brad Friedel from about 18 yards, with the angle. Sumptuous finish, his first since December – St James’ Park is rocking.


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