Bale concern for Spurs as Lennon plays pickpocket
Newcastle United 1 Tottenham Hotspur 1
Sunday 23 January 2011
Harry Redknapp, mugged by a gang in Madrid in midweek, staged a smash and grab of his own to deprive Newcastle United of their accustomed victory against Tottenham.
Newcastle looked destined for their fifth successive win here against Tottenham once Fabricio Coloccini scored a splendid 59th minute goal. But, after United wasted several chances to finish off Spurs, Aaron Lennon finally found a final touch that had deserted him for most of the game.
A minute of injury time had elapsed when he was allowed to cut inside from the left and beat Steve Harper with a crisp finish into the bottom corner.
"When you are losing 1-0 that late in the game it feels like a point gained. I was delighted to get something in the end," Redknapp said.
Spurs' relief was tempered by the back injury that forced the early departure of Gareth Bale, who had reverted to his former left-back role with the new signing Steven Pienaar on the left wing.
Redknapp said he had hoped to watch the Welshman, aided by Pienaar, run Newcastle ragged down their right flank, something that he has done to teams even in the Champions League this season.
Bale, injured after only 11 minutes, poses a concern for Spurs who face testing Cup and League games before returning to European action next month away to Milan.
His influence had been minimal in those opening stages here when Newcastle struggled to get a foothold in the game because of Spurs' slick passing, which produced a third-minute chance that Jermain Defoe directed wide.
Newcastle, still without significant figures such as Andy Carroll and Cheik Tioté, eventually settled and Shola Ameobi twice fired over the just inside the area.
Newcastle's own left-back Jose Enrique was the source of most of their threats and a run which was Bale-like in its pace and penetration created their best opportunity of the half. With 28 minutes gone, the Spaniard surged forward and crossed towards Leon Best, who hit the crossbar.
Defoe was the chief threat to Newcastle, who had beaten Tottenham on their previous four visits here, and goalkeeper Steve Harper reacted well to block a shot from him in the closing moments of the half.
The second half was far livelier, with Newcastle going ahead when Coloccini chested down Danny Guthrie's cross and finished with unlikely style for a centre-half.
Alan Pardew, the Newcastle manager, said: "It was a brilliant goal from the outstanding player in the game today. Once he brought it inside I fancied him to get a good hit. It was a great goal."
Carlo Cudicini made two fine saves from Ameobi and Peter Lovenkrands to keep Spurs afloat, while Luka Modric hit the bar – the closest they came until the late drama.
Pardew said: "It was like basketball towards the end. We committed too many men forward."
Referee: Mark Halsey
Man of the match: Coloccini
Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes
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