Newcastle steal priceless win

Tottenham 1 Newcastle 2: IN A SEASON of constant surprises, the situation near the top and bottom of the Premier League took another extraordinary twist as Newcastle United came from behind to beat Tottenham in stoppage time and end the Londoners’ unbeaten run of 14 league games — and put a huge dent in their title ambitions.

Newcastle steal priceless win

Just as he did last season, in another victory at White Hart Lane, Ayoze Perez scored to sink Spurs after fellow substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic had equalised Eric Dier’s first-half opener for Tottenham, who had moved briefly into the top four but faded badly as the game wore on.

This was Tottenham’s first defeat since the opening day of the season, while for Newcastle it was the first time in over a year that they had put together back-to-back victories, following the equally surprising win over Liverpool last weekend.

Watched by owner Mike Ashley, Newcastle took three points away from White Hart Lane for the second year running and are now out of the relegation zone, in 15th place and above Chelsea.

Manager Steve McClaren was clearly delighted but warned: “We haven’t turned a corner yet. You are only two defeats from a crisis at Newcastle, and only a defeat or two away from being back in trouble.

“We knew at half-time we had our backs to the wall, but we showed resilience and resistance in the second half. There is plenty of attitude, work-rate and effort, and some skillful players too.”

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino was left to rue a missed opportunity to make up ground on leaders Arsenal, although he would not blame goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who was at fault for both of Newcastle’s goals.

“It was not about one player — the person who takes responsibility is me. It was just not our day. Nobody expected to see how we finished the game after the first half. We lost control and made some simple mistakes in the second half and didn’t kill the game, and in the Premier League it is always difficult.”

There was little sign of the late drama to come as Spurs started with a confidence befitting their form. Harry Kane brought out the first of many good saves from Rob Elliot with a low drive in the first minute. The Newcastle goalkeeper was to prove a thorn in Tottenham’s side throughout.

The visitors struggled to get the ball out of their half, and had only two half-chances, when Siem De Jong’s shot was blocked by team-mate Papiss Cisse, who then headed wide later in the half.

Elliott saved superbly to deny Erik Lamela, who scored a hat-trick against Monaco on Thursday, and Christian Eriksen flashed a shot wide.

Elliot made his best stop when he tipped over another shot from Lamela at point-blank range. But it was only delaying the inevitable Tottenham goal, which arrived in the 38th minute. Eriksen curled in a corner from the left and Eric Dier timed his run to the near post perfectly, glancing the ball towards the far corner. Elliot got one hand to the ball, but only succeeded in diverting it over the head of Vernon Anita at the far post and into the roof of the net.

McClaren revealed that his players made it clear at half-time that they were up for the fight, and so it proved.

Cisse flashed his shot wide of the far post after being put through on goal by the muscular Moussa Sissoko, who was starting to get the better of Danny Rose. As if stung by the attempt, Spurs went to the opposite end and almost increased their lead when Kane fired a powerful shot from 30 yards that was heading towards the far corner of goal until Elliot dived acrobatically to tip the ball away.

The Newcastle keeper then held a dipping free-kick from Eriksen before the Dane hit a first-time shot that brought a low diving save.

McClaren then made two bold substitutions that ulitmate turned the game. He sent on Ayoze Perez and Aleksandar Mitrovic in a bid to get back on level terms, and the gamble soon paid off.

Rose was penalised for handball, and when Jack Colback floated his free-kick to the far post, Fabricio Coloccini headed it back across goal. His fellow defender Chencel Mbemba headed the ball on, and as Hugo Lloris flapped at the ball on the line, Mitrovic bundled it into the net.

Newcastle went for the winner and got it in stoppage time. Mitrovic flicked on a forward pass and Ayoze Perez took one touch before firing an angled shot that Lloris should have done better than to fumble into the net.

Newcastle’s small but noisy band of supporters celebrated wildly, another exceptional and unexpected result that gives them real hope of survival. For Spurs it was a bitter blow, a match they expected to win and a place in the top four snatched away as their unbeaten run came to end.

TOTTENHAM (4-2-3-1):

Lloris 5; Walker 6, Alderweireld 7, Vertonghen 7, Rose 6; Dier 7, Alli 7; Lamela 6 (Chadli 85), Carroll 5 (Son, 68), Eriksen 6; Kane 6

NEWCASTLE (4-5-1):

Elliot 9; Janmaat 6, Coloccini 6, Mbemba 6, Dummett 6; Sissoko 7, Anita 6 (Gouffran, 90), Colback 6, De Jong 5 (Perez 63), Wijnaldum 6; Cisse 6 (Mitrovic, 71)

Referee:

Roger East

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