Just when you think a corner is turned, there is another one that pops
up in front of you to make you take the wrong turn. Spurs rarely
get anything from their trips t the North-East and this pre-Christmas
trek brought little to cheer and garnered little goodwill from the
In a way, it was much
like the game at Highbury recently, with the decisions going against us,
but not really making a lot of difference, as we deserved to lose
anyway. The suspicion over the second Newcastle goal might have
proved that Scott Parker was beyond the last defender when he received
the ball, but the defending once play went on was approaching abysmal.
The loss of Jermain Defoe with a knee
injury in the warm-up left Spurs with just one man up front, with
Malbranque playing in the hole behind him, but the longer the game went
on the deeper he dropped. He did have the first chance to score in
the match, when he headed Chimbonda's cross straight into Given's hands
and as has happened so often this season, it lead to a goal at the other
end of the pitch. Dyer got the ball and ran at Ledley King, who
backed off giving the Newcastle midfielder the opportunity to bend the
ball around him and past Robinson with just three minutes on the clock.
When James Milner mis-kicked horribly,
the ball flew to Parker, who was standing well offside. How the
linesman didn't see it, who knows, but play went on and Spurs failed to
pick up Obafemi Martins, who had a free header from close range to make
it 2-0 with seven minutes having elapsed.
Spurs tried to gat back into the match
and Berba looked offside as he ran through and hit the side netting with
Given coming out to meet him. Tottenham grabbed a slice of luck themselves when Chimbonda made a good run on
the right wing, put in a cross, which Malbranque tried to bicycle kick
in, but missed and it fell kindly to Danny Murphy. The player
drafted into the side shot at goal and the ball hit Taylor's face on it's way
past Given and into the net. Three goals in fifteen minutes
signalled a frenetic start for the players, but the fans were stunned by
the open-ness of the game.
The Spurs goal had rocked Newcastle and
their fans, who were silenced by the fact Tottenham had pulled one back.
Possession became more often found in a white shirt and it was only some
last ditch tackles and touches by the Newcastle defence that prevented
them being opened up for an equaliser. Chimbonda had the best
opening, when he forced a save from the Toon keeper with a header on
But it was the Spurs keeper who had a
hand in the next goal of the game. Emre's free-kick was fumbled by
Robinson and when it dropped, both Taylor and Martins tried to score,
but were denied by brave saves by the Tottenham goalie, but he was
helpless when the ball popped up for Parker to head in to make it 3-1 to
the home side.
It was an uphill task then for Tottenham
to get back into it, with a reorganised line-up. However, they
didn't give up and although the score remained unchanged until the end
of the game, they did have a go in the second half.
Berbatov raced clear at the start of the
second period and slipped a shot past the advancing Given only to see it
roll agonisingly past the wrong side of the post and when Ramage cleared
a cross to Dawson, the Spurs defender could not get a clean strike on
goal. Jol decided to replace Zokora with Mido to make it 4-4-2,
but it didn't improve things for Tottenham. Apart from Ledley King
hitting a shot wide there was little more to show for the long trip
On days like this, when another slow
start and a dodgy call cost us, you wonder whether the FA would allow us
just to give these teams the three points and not have to bother to
travel to the ends of the earth to see them lose. It is a
disappointing way to go into Christmas, but there is always another game
and it comes on Tuesday with the opportunity to show they can bounce
back, although it will be hard against Martin O'Neill's well drilled
Aston Villa side.