Unbeaten Newcastle's frugal style pays off as Ameobi earns a point

Newcastle United 2 Tottenham Hotspur 2
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The Independent Online

In yesterday's match programme, Newcastle United issued a six-page "mission statement," managing director Derek Llambias explaining the club's policy of prudence-cum-parsimony in the transfer market and revealing that they are on course to break even and achieve their goal of self-sufficiency. On the pitch, Alan Pardew's players made a statement of their own, twice coming from behind to maintain their unbeaten start to the season and their hold on fourth place in the Premier League table.

They did so, showing a mettle that bodes well for tougher tests to come – they travel to Manchester twice in seven days next month – with goals from two strikers who cost them not so much as a penny in transfer fees. First, Demba Ba, a free transfer signing from West Ham in the summer, cancelled out Rafael van der Vaart's penalty for Spurs. Then, with four minutes of regulation time remaining, Shola Ameobi, a product of the Newcastle youth system, again pegged back the lead, set up by Spurs substitute Jermain Defoe.

At this rate, Llambias and Mike Ashley, Newcastle's unloved owner, will be able to keep the £35m Andy Carroll transfer fee in the bank and leave the totemic No 9 jersey unfilled. Under Pardew's guidance, the high-flying Magpies are unbeaten in eight Premier League matches this season – plus two Carling Cup ties. Taking in the tail-end of last term, the streak stands at 13 matches in all competitions.

"It just shows the spirit in the group and the characters that we have here," Pardew said. "We certainly deserved at least a point."

Spurs took an early grip in central midfield, thanks to Scott Parker, but without once troubling Tim Krul in the home goal. As the opening half progressed, Cheik Tiote started to make his presence felt and, by the half-hour mark, Newcastle and their Ivorian anchor man were on top. Gareth Bale was seeing so little of the ball he switched flanks from the right to the left and Spurs were forced to make another switch, the injured Ledley King making way for Sébastien Bassong. They managed to not just stem the black-and-white tide but to finish the first-half in front.

The visitors struck five minutes before the interval, Jake Livermore dispossessing Yohan Cabaye and feeding Emmanuel Adebayor, who drew a crude, mistimed challenge from Steven Taylor and a penalty that Van der Vaart buried low into the right corner of the net. It was only the fifth goal the Magpies had conceded in the top flight this season and only the second time they had been behind. Just as they had done at Villa Park last month, they dug deep and drew level.

Three minutes into the second half, Jonas Gutierrez skipped past two men on the left and dinked the ball to the far side of the goalmouth, where Ba slid in to stab a right-foot shot past Brad Friedel. It was the Senegalese striker's fifth goal in three games.

It might have been followed by a penalty for Newcastle but when Ba fell under a challenge from Bassong, referee Lee Probert signalled for play to continue. Gabriel Obertan also fired a drive wide from the right edge of the penalty area but, bit by bit, driven by the dynamic Parker, Tottenham started to regain control.

Adebayor and Van der Vaart both squandered clear chances before the latter made way for Defoe in the 64th minute. Four minutes later, Spurs were back in front, Parker finding Defoe on the right edge of the area and the England striker turning smartly to smack a left-foot shot past Krul.

To their credit, Newcastle's resolve never weakened. Ryan Taylor had Friedel at full-stretch to keep out a curling free-kick. It was Taylor who supplied Ameobi for the 86th-minute equaliser, the replacement for Leon Best cracking home a left drive from wide on the left. St James' erupted in celebration.

Krul had to make a fine save from Defoe in a frantic finale. It would have been cruel on Newcastle had they not claimed a least a point. Not that everyone at the club might be getting their just desserts.

"I hope the owners start to get a little bit more respect," Pardew said. "I don't think that they and even myself will ever win everyone over but we are in a good position on and off the field."

Substitutes: Newcastle United Ben Arfa (Ba, 71), Shola Ameobi (Best, 71), Santon (Simpson, 77). Tottenham Hotspur Bassong 6 (King, 30), Defoe 7 (Van der Vaart, 64), Pavlyuchenko (Adebayor, 89).

Booked: Newcastle Tiote. Tottenham Parker, Modric.

Man of the match Tiote.

Match rating 7/10.

Possession: Newcastle 57% Tottenham 43%.

Attempts on target: Newcastle 7 Tottenham 8.

Referee L Probert (Wiltshire). Attendance 46,420.

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