Newcastle 1 Tottenham 3 Sunday 19 April 4pm
Goals: NUFC Colback 46 TOTTENHAM Chadli 30 Eriksen 53 Kane 90
Tottenham arrived not in the best of form but Newcastle are making a habit of being the ideal tonic for those needing a lift.
Despite pre-match promises from John Carver of taking the match to the opposition, it was the same old defend deep and isolate Ayoze Perez with zero support, hoping to fluke a goal from somewhere.
Spurs must have been loving it, a team filled with players who love passing it about, allowed to take whatever liberties they wanted.
The goal took a bit longer coming than the play suggested and when it came it contained many of the elements that are wrong with Newcastle at this moment in time.
Yoan Gouffran found space to run forward and try and create something, yet bizarrely chose to turn back towards his own goal and….who knows why?
Anyway, Chadli picked his pocket and strode forward unopposed before lashing a long range effort past Tim Krul.
Back in that 2011/12 fifth place finish season, Krul would have made the save and looked as comfortable as Shay Given used to.
Instead sadly he is looking more like Rob Elliot these days, though carrying a little less weight.
Picking the ball out of the back of his net, Krul and his teammates came up with little response.
Little wonder then to see a double substitution at half-time, with twin ‘wingers’ Ameobi and Obertan coming on. The abysmal Vurnon Anita was replaced, though it was a surprise to also see Mehdi Abeid dragged off when others had contributed far less.
If you were kind you would say the changes instantly paid off, though in reality it was simply Ayoze Perez showing great persistence, which eventually led to the ball breaking for Jack Colback to score from close range.
At White Hart Lane a quick second half reply shocked Spurs into submission and Newcastle were rewarded for some rare attacking initiative, Ayoze Perez adding a winner that day.
None of those things happened today.
Spurs weren’t shaken and Newcastle crawled back into their (defensive) shell.
Seven minutes later and the writing was on the wall. A free-kick was swung in from the left and the ball never left its flight pattern, despite this Tim Krul weakly let it bounce past him with his despairing dive getting a touch on the ball that wasn’t enough. Very poor from the keeper.
With United at least pressing in the final minutes it was always likely they could get caught out and sure enough Spurs broke at speed in injury time and Harry Kane added yet another goal to his growing collection.
Six defeats in a row and surely it can’t get any worse than this….
The big talking points of the day surrounded the organised boycott which left big gaps in all four stands, with the consensus being that there was around 40,000 in the stadium, though the crowd figure of those who’d actually paid was over seven thousand more.
A shocking atmosphere and even the Newcastle equaliser barely lifted the atmosphere above what you’d expect at a pre-season friendly.
Hard to tell whether the fan protests affected the players because they have been so poor for so long and today was simply more of the same.
It is getting harder and harder to see a significant core of players to maybe rebuild around, both Krul and Coloccini have struggled this season and only really Ayoze Perez and Daryl Janmaat have shown anything approaching star quality, though Jack Colback usually puts a steady shift in – no more no less.
These are the key stats as provided by BBC Sport;
Possession was 39% Newcastle and 61% Tottenham
Total shots was 11 for Newcastle and Tottenham 14
Shots on target was Newcastle 5 and Tottenham 8
While corners was Newcastle 4 and Tottenham 3
(Player ratings totals below from fans so far, add yours and then press submit)
Team: Krul, Janmaat, Williamson, Coloccini, Anita (Armstrong 75), Abeid (Obertan 46), Colback, Ryan Taylor, Gouffran (Ameobi 46), Cabella, Perez,
Unused Subs: Woodman, Sterry, Riviere, Kemen
Ref: Kevin Friend
Crowd: 47,427 (Number of tickets sold but actual crowd inside ground – around 40,000)