Newcastle stretch unbeaten record after late equaliser

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Shola Ameobi came off the bench to rescue Newcastle‘s unbeaten record as the Magpies twice came from behind to earn a 2-2 draw against Tottenham at St James’ Park on Sunday.

Ameobi’s powerful angled drive with four minutes left ensured a share of the spoils for Alan Pardew’s side, who strengthened their grip on fourth place in the English Premier League with another gutsy display.

Tottenham took the lead through a hotly-disputed first-half penalty from Rafael van der Vaart. But Demba Ba equalised in the second half and, although Jermain Defoe restored Spurs’ lead, it was Ameobi who had the final word. Newcastle enjoyed the territorial advantage, but had failed to create any meaningful chances when Tottenham took the lead five minutes before the interval.

Emmanuel Adebayor tangled with Newcastle defender Steven Taylor in the area after midfielder Yohan Cabaye had lost possession, but the visitors’ penalty appeals seemed to have been ignored by Lee Probert.

However, after consultation with his assistant, the referee, who awarded four penalties against Tottenham last season, all at White Hart Lane, pointed to the spot, to howls of protest from the majority of fans in a 46,000 crowd.

Van der Vaart ignored the protests, calmly sending Tim Krul the wrong way with a confident left-foot finish into the corner of the net for his fourth goal of the season.

Republic of Ireland forward Leon Best was inches from connecting with an in-swinging Ryan Taylor free-kick with the goal at his mercy from close range, while Ba headed over from Cabaye’s corner as Newcastle’s best openings bookended the first-half.

Ledley King, the injury-prone Tottenham skipper making a fifth consecutive league appearance for the first time in three-and-a-half years, limped off before the interval.

Their troubles deepened just three minutes into the second-half, when Ba continued his rich run of goalscoring form – thanks to impressive work from Jonas Gutierrez.

Newcastle’s Argentina midfielder surged down the left to leave Luka Modric and Kyle Walker trailing, before sending over an inch-perfect cross for Ba to tap in his fifth goal in three games.

Adebayor almost immediately restored the visitors’ lead, firing across the face of goal and inches wide after good work from Modric.

Gabriel Obertan flashed a low angled drive from 20-yards narrowly off-target for the hosts, but it was a rare threat on goal from Pardew’s side.

Krul then had to be alert to rush from his goal and hack clear as Defoe bore down on Scott Parker’s astute.

It was a warning Newcastle failed to heed, as the same pair combined just four minutes after Defoe had entered the fray.

Defoe, one of the most instinctive finishers in the Premier League, took a pass from his England colleague to turn and shoot into the bottom corner from the edge of the area in the 68th minute

That looked like earning all three points, but undaunted, Newcastle pressed forward in search of a late equaliser.

It took a fine save from Friedel to deny Cheik Tiote’s 30-yard drive but the pressure finally told when Ameobi, 15 minutes after his introduction, beat the American keeper with a stunning low finish after fine work by Cabaye.

There was still time for Krul to save from Defoe, while at the other end Fabricio Coloccini shot wide on the turn from close range in a breathless finish.

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