The blue and white half
of North London will be shaking their heads and wondering what could,
and should have been, after watching their side crash to a 3-2 home
defeat against Newcastle United.
Tottenham dominated the
visiting Magpies, outplaying them in possession and shots, and will be
wondering how two goals in two minutes midway through the second half
allowed them to take all three points back to Tyneside.
It should have been
over by the time Jermain Defoe finally hit the net after 14 minutes to
open the scoring for Spurs.
Spurs came out fighting
from the moment referee Steve Bennett blew the whistle and the opening
spell was arguably the best they have played this season.
Wave after wave of
attacking football pushed Newcastle further into their own half and only
excellent goalkeeping from the ever-reliable Shay Given meant the game
remained scoreless until Defoe slid in, from an off-side position, to
put the home side ahead.
But in typically cruel,
and typically Tottenham, fashion, the Magpies hit back straight away
when Paul Huntington scored his first goal for the travellers – a wide
shot that hit Paul Robinson’s heel and hit the back of the net.
Tottenham began to
build up their momentum again as the first half came to a close but
weren’t able to take an advantage into the break.
The fast and furious
action was never dirty or threatened to break out into handbags until,
moments before half-time, an altercation between Pascal Chimbonda and
Nicky Butt led to yellow cards for the players, before the row escalated
as both teams trudged into the tunnel for half-time.
Tottenham and Newcastle
were evenly contested in the opening moments of the second-half, but it
was Spurs who regained the lead with a Dimitar Berbatov goal after 54
Teemu Tainio had a shot
superbly saved by a sliding Norberto Solano but the Bulgarian striker
volleyed the rebound into the ground and over Given into the net.
This time after
scoring, Spurs continued their assaults at the Newcastle goal but they
were served a double blow when the Magpies scored two in two minutes to
take the lead.
Obafemi Martins drilled
the ball past Robinson and into the top left-hand corner for Newcastle’s
second on 72 minutes and he played a one-two with Butt to play the
midfielder into the box and he slid the ball past Robinson.
Middlesbrough where he came on to score the winner, Robbie Keane’s
introduction didn’t bring Spurs the equaliser they deserved and
Newcastle took all three points.
Martins was named
Man-of-the-Match, but Given produced a faultless display on which the
away side were able to shock Tottenham by snatching the win.
Berbatov and Defoe in
particular had a host of chances between them and the team had 10 shots
on target throughout the game, 21 in all.
Indeed, all the match
stats weighed heavily in Tottenham’s favour and Martin Jol will struggle
to understand how his team lost this match.
For the fans, it was a
sickening blow for their team, who had been undefeated at home all
season until the 1-0 loss against Liverpool on December 30 and with 15
games to go, the team has now lost as many games this season (nine) as
they did in total last season.
Tottenham now lie in
eighth position, five points behind sixth places Portsmouth and eight
points below Bolton sitting in fifth, and Jol must pick the side up and
make sure they start to collect points, particularly away from home,
over the next couple of months to propel the side into the European
MEHSTG TOP MAN : JERMAIN DEFOE