Shola Ameobi - Newcastle United News

Shola Ameobi came off the bench to lash home his first Premier League goal of the season and ensure Newcastle’s unbeaten run extended to eight games, as they played out a thrilling 2-2 draw with Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham.

Spurs took the lead in the closing stages of the first half when Steven Taylor brought down Emmanuel Adebayor in the box and Rafael Van Der Vaart smashed his penalty past Tim Krul. Newcastle got the equaliser soon after the break when Jonas Gutierrez produced a breathtaking run and cross down the left for Demba Ba to convert, his fifth goal in three games.

Jermain Defoe put the visitors back ahead just minutes after the England striker had come off the bench but Ameobi was the star of the show as his goal ensured Newcastle stay fourth in the table and continue their impressive recent form.

Newcastle were unfortunate to go into half-time a goal down, as their unparalleled endeavour and spirit deserved so much more than it ultimately got. They had defended well from the front, with Ba and Best chasing down every ball and unlucky not to get more from their efforts.

On balance of the first half, Newcastle’s approach to preserving their unbeaten run looked more likely to create the opening goal but Tottenham repelled any promising attacks comfortably, with Ledley King and Younes Kaboul playing well before the former inevitably broke down with the usual knee injury.

Despite Newcastle’s admirable style of play, they couldn’t create a clear goal scoring opportunity; the closest they came was after a period of pressure resulted in Ba’s tame header from Coloccini’s cross.

However, without creating much at one end, Newcastle didn’t look like conceding, with Coloccini and Taylor keeping Emmanuel Adebayor and Rafael Van Der Vaart under wraps for the majority of the first period. When Luka Modric found space in between midfield and defence, his ominous-looking through ball was superbly intercepted by Coloccini.

But the Geordie resistance lasted only a minute longer when Adebayor broke away and turned Steven Taylor inside out before the 25-year old brought the Togo international crashing down with a clumsy looking tackle. Referee Lee Probert, who had enjoyed a faultless game up to that point, made the right call when awarding the Londoners a penalty and showing Taylor a yellow card, rather than a red. Van Der Vaart stepped up confidently and smashed it past his international team-mate Krul.

Spurs were never at their best this afternoon and were instantly pegged back after the restart when Jonas Gutierrez teased his way past Modric and Kyle Walker before standing up an inch perfect cross for Ba to run onto. Friedel actually saved the Senegal striker’s effort but the American stopper couldn’t prevent himself sliding over his own goal line and into the back of the net.

With the game level and the Toon Army in full vociferous support, the home side nearly went behind soon after levelling when some Modric magic set up Adebayor, who shot narrowly wide of Krul’s far post.

Harry Redknapp then answered some of the doubters who say he isn’t tactically astute enough to manage England in the future when he threw on Defoe after 62 minutes. Just five minutes later the former West Ham striker received the ball, turned Ryan Taylor and smashed into the bottom corner to leave Newcastle staring their first Premier League defeat of the season squarely in the face.

In retaliation, Alan Pardew threw on Hatem Ben Arfa and Shola Ameobi in place of the front pairing of Best and Ba and showed he too can be quite a master tactician when needs be. Shola, fully recovered from a shoulder injury, teased and tormented former team mate Sebastien Bassong and Kaboul for the 20 minutes he was on and left with more than just a good report from his manager when he lashed in with just five minutes left. Ameobi received Ryan Taylor’s pass and smashed an unstoppable left-foot shot past Brad Friedel to earn his beloved Geordies a point.

In the five minutes added on for stoppages, Newcastle could and should have took all three points when Taylor’s superb free-kick was diverted goalwards by Coloccini, only for the Argentine to get too much on it and send it more away from goal than towards it. The follow up was arguably a better chance for the Newcastle captain but the 30-year old sliced his shot wide from close range.

With the capacity crowd urging their idolised black and white clad heroes on in search of a winner, time ran out when referee Probert called time on a thrilling second half. However, the spirit and style of play showed by the Magpies will ensure the fantastic fans will go home happy that their side is fourth in the table and unbeaten in eight.

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  1. Yido

    Spurs fan here

    Just wanted to say respect to Steven Taylor in the post match interview, put his hand up over the Pen straight away no not sure, didn't catch him, lad made a meal of it crap. Told the truth

    Thought a draw was a fair result although Spurs were hanging on in the end, had some chances to make it 3-1 too. Great game and pleased to see the Geordie fans back too, fantastic 2nd half atmosphere…


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