Spurs held as Newcastle strike back

PA Sport
Shola Ameobi
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Shola Ameobi

Local hero Shola Ameobi came off the bench to ensure Newcastle's unbeaten start to the season remained intact with an entertaining 2-2 draw against Tottenham at St James' Park.

The substitute blasted home his side's second equaliser four minutes from time as a pulsating encounter ended all square. Jermain Defoe looked to have won it for the visitors when he fired past Tim Krul with 68 minutes gone, but Ameobi denied Spurs a fifth successive Barclays Premier League win to the delight of the majority of the 46,420 crowd.

Rafael van der Vaart had put Harry Redknapp's men ahead from the penalty spot five minutes before the break, but Demba Ba's equaliser - his fifth goal in three games - within three minutes of the restart set the scene for the late drama.

The visitors passed the ball confidently in the opening exchanges with Newcastle old boy Scott Parker and Luka Modric prominent, and Emmanuel Adebayor, whose participation was in doubt because of a hamstring injury, stretching the home defence at regular intervals.

As the half wore on, the Magpies warmed to their task and with wide-men Gabriel Obertan and Jonas Gutierrez causing problems and Yohan Cabaye and Cheick Tiote edging things in the middle of the pitch, they started to threaten.

But the breakthrough arrived five minutes before half-time, and it did so to the horror of Newcastle defender Steven Taylor. Taylor tracked Adebayor's run into the penalty area and saw the former Togo international go down under his challenge.

Referee Lee Probert took his time with the defender protesting his innocence but eventually pointed to the spot and, amid a cacophony of boos from the home fans, Van der Vaart sent Krul the wrong way to open the scoring.

Newcastle needed just three minutes to get themselves back on terms after the break, and they did so in some style as Gutierrez produced a wonderful, mazy run. The Argentina international skipped pass Modric and then full-back Kyle Walker on the left before crossing for the unmarked Ba to slide in and send the ball goalwards, where Friedel could only carry it into his own net.

Redknapp opted for even more pace with 63 minutes gone when he replaced Van der Vaart with Defoe, and the newcomer wasted little time in making his mark. Having already forced Krul to sprint from his line to cut out Parker's through-ball, he turned smartly on the midfielder's pass to thump a left-footed shot past the keeper and into the bottom corner.

Pardew threw on Hatem Ben Arfa and Ameobi after withdrawing Ba and Best with 19 minutes remaining, and it was the home side which finished the stronger. Friedel had to pull off fine saves from Tiote and then Ryan Taylor as time ran down, but there was nothing he could do to prevent Ameobi from snatching a point with his drilled 86th-minute strike.

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