June 18 2013 Latest news:
By Ben Pearce, Tottenham correspondent, at White Hart Lane
Saturday, February 9, 2013
Premier League: Tottenham 2 Newcastle 1
Gareth Bale took his tally to five goals in four games as Tottenham overcame Newcastle to go third in the Premier League.
The irrepressible Welshman had scored in Spurs’ previous two games at Norwich and West Brom before finding the net for Wales in midweek – and he was on target twice at White Hart Lane today.
The 23-year-old gave the Lilywhites the lead in the fourth minute with a free kick and, although Yoan Gouffran equalised for Newcastle in the first half, Bale hit a 78th–minute winner before being denied a deserved hat-trick in injury time.
Tottenham’s latest victory took them above Chelsea and into third spot in the league table – although Rafael Benitez’s Blues will have the chance to reclaim the position when they host Wigan this afternoon.
There were three changes to the Spurs side that had won 1-0 at West Brom in their previous outing, with Steven Caulker and Kyle Naughton replacing Jan Vertonghen and Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Lewis Holtby making his first start for the Lilywhites in his first home game.
The 22-year-old came in in place of Jermain Defoe, while Emmanuel Adebayor was named amongst the substitutes after taking five days to return from the Africa Cup of Nations and missing Friday’s 3pm training session.
Meanwhile, Spurs’ players and staff warmed up in t-shirts saying “Get well soon Joe, praying for you” – a message for goalkeeping coach Tony Parks’ son, who was involved in a car accident during the week.
Tottenham made a blistering start, showing great energy despite their various exertions in the international arena in midweek.
Bale played a one-two with Holtby before delivering a deadly cross just in front of the sliding Clint Dempsey – and the Welshman gave the hosts a fourth-minute lead, whipping a 30-yard free kick over the wall and into the bottom corner.
There was applause around White Hart Lane in the eighth minute for Paul Gascoigne, who had represented Newcastle and Spurs, and the home fans nearly had another goal to cheer moments later as Holtby fired over.
The young German had another chance in the 16th minute as Scott Parker won the ball in the midfield with a trademark sliding challenge, and Caulker broke away before finding Holtby, who scuffed his effort from the edge of the box.
Tottenham were in control, but Newcastle suddenly created a golden opportunity as Fabricio Colocinni crossed for Papiss Cisse, who was left all alone but planted his header wide of the far post with Hugo Lloris stranded.
At the other end, Lennon gathered Naughton’s crossfield ball and found Holtby, who whipped a first-time effort narrowly over the bar.
However, the Magpies equalised in the 23rd minute as Moussa Sissoko escaped down the right-hand side and pulled the ball back for Gouffran, whose shot took a wicked deflection off Michael Dawson and beat Lloris.
Spurs had a penalty appeal turned down as Lennon’s cross hit David Santon’s arm, but the Lilywhites were struggling to maintain the energy that they had shown in the early stages.
Dembele had played 90 minutes for Belgium on Wednesday evening and his midfield partner Parker was labouring to keep up with the speed and intricacy of his team-mates’ passing, giving the ball away all too frequently.
The sides went into the break all square and were unable to create a meaningful chance in the first 15 minutes of the second period.
There was a stoppage in play as Gouffran went down after a challenge from Walker, and the Frenchman received oxygen on the pitch before being stretchered off.
Andre Villas-Boas used the pause in proceedings to give Bale and Holtby instructions, and the pair swapped positions when play resumed, with Bale adopting the central position that had made him so dangerous at Norwich and West Brom.
The tactical change nearly produced immediate dividends as Bale tip-toed into the box, but he delayed his shot and the chance went begging.
With 20 minutes remaining, Villas-Boas replaced Holtby with Adebayor, and Assou-Ekotto then came on in place of Naughton.
However, the next chance came from a very familiar source as Bale forced Krul into a low save with a right-footed effort, and the Spurs star then went one better with his second strike of the game.
There seemed to be little danger for the Magpies as Steven Taylor waited for the ball to drop near the halfway line, but Bale pinched it away from the visiting centre-back and hared through on goal before firing through Krul.
It was nearly 3-1 to the hosts soon after, but Caulker headed wide from a corner, and Bale was then denied a hat-trick as he ran onto Assou-Ekotto’s long ball over the top and saw a powerful drive tipped over by Krul.
Spurs had to endure seven minutes of injury time, and Jake Livermore was brought on to replace Dembele, who had just received a nasty tackle from Yohan Cabaye – and there was late drama as Shola Ameobi got a clear sight of Lloris’ goal in the box, only to be denied by the sprawling Frenchman.
At the other end, Adebayor led a break away and Livermore saw his low shot blocked, while Bale was presented with a golden opportunity for his hat-trick, only to sky the ball over an open goal at close range.
He nearly made amends moments later, skipping inside off the right flank and firing low towards the bottom right corner – but Krul somehow got down to make a fine fingertip save.
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Caulker, Naughton (Assou-Ekotto 73), Lennon, Parker, Dembele (Livermore 90), Bale, Holtby (Adebayor 69), Dempsey
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