Shola Amoebi preserved Newcastle’s unbeaten record in the Premier League by coming off the bench to score a late equalizer in a 2-2 draw with Tottenham on Sunday.
Amoebi came off the bench to drive home a low, angled shot in the 86th minute at St. James’ Park just when it appeared substitute Jermain Defoe’s goal in the 68th would earn in-form Tottenham a fifth straight league win.
Netherlands playmaker Rafael van der Vaart converted a penalty in the 40th to put Spurs ahead after Emmanuel Adebayor was tripped by Steven Taylor, but Demba Ba’s fifth goal of the season leveled the match three minutes.
Newcastle stretched its unbeaten run to eight games to remain fourth in the table, two points ahead of fifth-place and three clear of Tottenham in sixth. The only other unbeaten teams are leader Manchester City and second-place Manchester United.
”In the end you’re walking off slightly disappointed not to have won it,” Newcastle manager Alan Pardew said. ”We had some great chances but we’ll settle for a draw. We’re still unbeaten and we’ll take it to the next game.”
After Taylor tripped up Adebayor as the Togo striker burst into the area for Tottenham’s penalty, the hosts equalized when Newcastle midfielder Jonas Gutierrez produced an impressive run before crossing to find Ba.
That galvanized the Magpies but also opened them up to counterattacks from Spurs, with Adebayor firing across the face of goal and Tim Krul saving from Van der Vaart.
Defoe replaced Van der Vaart and, five minutes later, turned smartly on midfielder Scott Parker’s pass to send a left-footed shot beyond Krul into the bottom corner.
”When you’re 2-1 up in the 80-whatever minute you’re looking for the three points, that’s for sure,” Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp said. ”We got in some great positions on the break, but didn’t pick the right ball.”
Ben Arfa and Amoebi were inserted in the 71st minute and immediately sparked Newcastle with a frantic finale following Amoebi’s equalizer as Defoe saw a chance blocked by Krul.
Fabricio Coloccini volleyed wide in injury time before Amoebi pleaded for a handball after Jake Livermore blocked his shot in the waning moments.
Newcastle has 16 points from eight games and Tottenham has one game in hand.