By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Journalist
At St. James' Park
Newcastle United 2 (Ba 48, Ameobi 86)
Tottenham Hotspur 2 (Van Der Vaart 40, Defoe 68)
Shola Ameobi's late strike salvaged a point for Newcastle as they drew 2-2 with Tottenham Hotspur at St. James' Park on Sunday.
The substitute fired a left-footed shot past Brad Friedel in the 86th minute as United twice came from behind to keep their unbeaten start to the campaign in tact.
Rafael Van Der Vaart had given Spurs a first half lead from the penalty spot, after Steven Taylor was adjudged to have fouled Emmanuel Adebayor inside the area, but Demba Ba levelled from close range minutes after the restart.
Jermain Defoe's strike looked to have won the contest for the visitors, but Ameobi had the last laugh, netting his first goal of the season for a share of the spoils.
Tottenham dominated the opening exchanges, but had no real clear cut openings to show for their possession.
With just a couple of minutes on the clock, Benoit Assou-Ekotto's low cut-back from the left flank was dummied by Adebayor, allowing Van Der Vaart to race on to it. The Dutchman's first touch took him into the area, but Ryan Taylor was on hand to clear the danger before he could pull the trigger.
And in the 11th minute, midfielder Jake Livermore met Van Der Vaart's corner but was unable to get enough power on his header to test Tim Krul.
The striker connected, but planted a firm header straight at Brad Friedel, when anything either side of the veteran keeper could have caused him a big problem.
Tottenham suffered a blow on the half hour mark when captain Ledley King hobbled off, to be replaced by Sebastien Bassong, with the former Newcastle defender receving a less-than-warm welcome from the St. James' Park faithful.
Yohan Cabaye was next to try his luck for the hosts with a 25-yard effort after good work from Cheik Tiote, but the midfielder was well off target.
United were slowly getting on top but Spurs took the lead from the penalty spot with five minutes of the first half remaining. Cabaye lost possession in the middle of the park, and when Adebayor strode into the box he went down under the challenge of Steven Taylor.
Referee Lee Probert seemed to take an age to make his decision before awarding a penalty, and Van Der Vaart stepped up to plant the ball into the right corner of the net, sending Krul the wrong way in the process.
The Magpies responded and Ba thumped a header over the top from Cabaye's right-wing corner but they were unable to force an equaliser before the break.
Clearly hurt by conceding, Newcastle came roaring out of the traps at the start of the second period and were level within three minutes. Jonas Gutierrez weaved his way down the left touchline before dinking a cross to the far post where Ba was racing in.
And the front man prodded home his fifth goal of the season from inside the six yard box, despite the best efforts of Friedel, who got something on it but just failed to stop the ball crossing the line.
Spurs could, and maybe should, have been back in front on 52 minutes. Luka Modric threaded a pass through the home defence and Adebayor's shot across the face of goal was inches the wrong side of the upright.
Gabriel Obertan wasn't too far away at the other end minutes later, latching on to a loose ball before driving forward and striking a low 25-yard effort just wide of the far post.
By this point the game was really opening up, with both sides exchanging scoring chances, and Van Der Vaart was only denied a second by Krul, who did well to hold on to his sidefooted effort, after Modric had pulled the ball back from the byline.
Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp replaced his goalscorer Van Der Vaart with Jermain Defoe in the 64th minute, and within four minutes the switch had paid dividends as the visitors regained the lead.
Some neat interplay between Modric and Scott Parker created space for Spurs, and when the latter knocked the ball into the path of Defoe just outside the box, the substitute took a touch, turned a left-footed shot past the grasp of Krul.
Magpies boss Alan Pardew responded with a double change, bringing on Hatem Ben Arfa and Shola Ameobi for Demba Ba and Leon Best in a bid to freshen up his attack. And summer signing Davide Santon was then introduced in the 77th minute for his Newcastle debut, after signing from Inter Milan at the end of August.
And the home side looked bright again, with Tiote forcing Friedel to tip his 30-yard shot over the top after good work from Gutierrez and Obertan had fashioned the chance.
On 82 minutes Ryan Taylor set up a 25-yard free-kick well within his raqnge, but Friedel was equal to the effort, which curled around the wall but not past the stopper's fingertips.
But Friedel was finally beaten again four minutes from time. As Tottenham failed to clear some heavy home pressure, the ball found its way to Ameobi on the left-hand side of the area. The big striker had a lot to do but flashed a drive into the far corner to send St. James' Park into raptures.
There was still time for further chances though, and Krul made an outstanding point-blank save to deny Defoe his second. Then, at the other end, Coloccini somehow skewed wide from close range as Spurs failed to clear their lines, while Friedel held on to Gutierrez's low shot which turned out to be the final moment of a thrilling contest.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson (Davide Santon 77), Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Ryan Taylor; Gabriel Obertan, Yohan Cabaye, Cheik Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez; Leon Best (Shola Ameobi 71), Demba Ba (Hatem Ben Arfa 71)
Subs not used: Rob Elliot, Dan Gosling, Sylvain Marveaux, Peter Lovenkrands
Tottenham Hotspur (4-4-2): Brad Friedel; Kyle Walker, Younes Kaboul, Ledley King (c) (Sebastien Bassong 30), Benoit Assou-Ekotto; Gareth Bale, Jake Livermore, Scott Parker, Luka Modric; Rafael Van Der Vaart (Jermain Defoe 64); Emmanuel Abebayor (Roman Pavlyuchenko 89)
Subs not used: Carlo Cudicini, Danny Rose, Andros Townsend, Giovani Dos Santos
Referee: Lee Probert
Attendance: 46,420 (2,450 Tottenham)