Sunday, October 16, 2011

Newcastle United 2 Tottenham Hotspur 2

Newcastle United maintained their undefeated opening to the season by coming from behind twice to end Tottenham's run of four consecutive wins.  The loss of Ledley King in the first half made the Tottenham defence less comfortable and Newcastle took advantage to grab a point with a late equaliser.

Newcastle United 2 Tottenham Hotspur 2 
Scorers:  Ba, Ameobi             Van der Vaart (p), Defoe

Team: Friedel; Walker, King (Bassong), Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto; Bale, Parker, Liveremore, Modric; Van der Vaart (Defoe), Adebayor (Pavlyuchenko).  Subs (unused): Cudicini, Townsend, Giovani Dos Santos, Rose

Spurs' Loss of King Allows Newcastle to Come from Behind to Draw

Tottenham missed the chance to move into fifth place in the League as Newcastle twice came from behind to snatch a draw with a goal three minutes from time.  In the first half neither side created any scoring chances with Newcastle content to use the long ball to put the Tottenham defence under pressure.  With Ledley King playing in his fifth consecutive League game Spurs looked quite comfortable and in control against these tactics.

After half an hour King suffered an injury and had to leave the pitch as he always does in these circumstances, quietly walking off having felt another twinge in his injury wracked body.  His departure meant that the defence was less composed as Younes Kaboul and Sebastien Bassong are more erratic in their play with Bassong lacking confidence and appearing to be very unsure of himself.  However, five minutes before the interval, Jake Livermore pressurised the Newcastle defence and the ball went to Emmanuel Adebayor who was brought down for a penalty as he strode into the penalty area.  Rafael Van der Vaart coolly sent the goalkeeper the wrong way to put Spurs ahead.

Newcastle upped their game in the final minutes of the half but Spurs scoped with the increased intensity of the game.  Newcastle strated the second half with more purpose and withing two minutes had equalised.  Poor defending on the right by Luka Modric gave Newcastle room to put in a cross which Ba met and although Brad Friedel got across his goal to get his body behind the ball, his momentum carried him and the ball into the net.

Newcastle were encouraged by their supporters but Spurs looked dangerous as the game swung from end to end and five minutes after replacing Van der Vaart, Jermain Defoe put Spurs ahead with a shot from the edge of the box, having taken the ball from Adebayor with his back to goal, he quickly turned his defender and fired an unstoppable shot past Krul.  Tottenham had further chances to increase their lead while Newcastle were dangerous on the break and from free-kicks.  Twice Spurs were in dangerous positions but failed to find the pass to an unmarked colleague.

With three minutes remaining as Newcastle increased the pressure, Tottenham failed to clear the ball properly and Newcastle returned it into the Spurs area and Ameobi hit a fierce shot past Friedel and inside the post.  Spurs weren't finished as twice Defoe was denied.  First a last gasp tackle blocked his shot and from the rebound, Krul blocked his powerful follow-up shot.  In added time Newcastle went looking for the winner but Spurs held out.

That result continued Spurs poor Premier League record against Newcastle United at St James' Park.  They haven't won there since 2004 and this is the third consecutive game that has had a late goal affect the result.  Last year, Aaron Lennon got a late equaliser for Spurs while the previois year it was Newcastle who grabbed a late winner.

The result means that Spurs remain in sixth place behind Liverpool, with Newcastle in fourth.  Spurs have a match in hand over the teams above them.  If Spurs had managed to secure a two goal victory they could have moved above Newcastle into fourth place.

Tottenham's injury problems are increasing with every game.  Sandro was unavailable due to injury while Adebayor played despite uncertainty about his fitness.  The loss of King is a big blow for Tottenham as their defending is so much more composed and controlled with him in the team.  He brings a calm that is missing when he is absent.  With Michael Dawson, William Gallas and King injured, Harry Redknapp has only two fit central defenders, Kaboul and Bassong, and with a possible cover in Vedran Corluka also injured, Livermore may be called upon to fill in in central defence for the Europa League game on Thursday evening.


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