Newcastle United 2 Tottenham Hotspur 3
- Andre Marriner
A new era at St. James’ Park started in dramatic but ultimately disappointing fashion as three first-half goals gave Tottenham Hotspur victory and prolonged Newcastle United’s winless start to the campaign.
The game began in incredible fashion for Newcastle as Callum Wilson – making his first appearance for the Magpies since August – struck with just two minutes on the clock at the Leazes End to spark wild celebrations among the bulk of the capacity crowd.
That was to be as good as it got, though, as Tanguy Ndombele and Harry Kane scored within five minutes of one another to put Tottenham in front before the game was stopped for nearly half an hour after a supporter was taken ill.
Understandably, the vibe around the ground wasn’t quite the same after that. Son Heung-min added a third to rubber-stamp the visitors’ authority on the game, with substitute Jonjo Shelvey dismissed in the second half for two bookable offences.
Eric Dier’s late own goal afforded the ten-man Magpies the slightest glimmer of hope but, in truth, the damage had long been done by that point.
With Jimmy Nail’s Big River belting out over the tannoy and Wor Flags’ accompanying display unfurled proudly at the Gallowgate End, St. James’ was rocking before the players had even made it out of the tunnel. And, on the pitch, things could barely have started better; with just over 100 seconds on the clock, Allan Saint-Maximin rolled the ball down the right for Javier Manquillo, whose first-time cross was nodded down and into the net by the returning Wilson.
The Magpies looked inspired and purposeful early on, with Tottenham struggling to get a foothold. After avoiding any further damage, though, Nuno Espírito Santo’s side managed to get themselves level. Sergio Reguilón had plenty of time down the left and Ndombele seemed to have even more, gathering the Spaniard’s pass and duly picking his spot from just inside the penalty area. Karl Darlow, in United’s goal, was helpless.
Although skipper Jamaal Lascelles swiftly fired a warning shot back Spurs’ way, heading over from a Matt Ritchie corner, it looked like the visitors were starting to turn the screw. Five minutes after drawing level, they completed a quick-fire turnaround as Kane, having timed his run to perfection, latched onto Pierre-Emile Højbjerg’s pass before producing a dinked finish to beat Darlow. The assistant referee initially raised his flag, but a VAR check confirmed Manquillo was playing Kane on.
Moments after Lucas Moura clipped the crossbar with a header from a Son corner, play was brought to a halt after a medical emergency was identified in the East Stand. Supporters and players alike played their part in highlighting the severity of the issue, with Magpies doctor Paul Catterson crossing the pitch to attend the scene. It was another 25 minutes before the game got back underway.
When it did, Newcastle swiftly found themselves further behind. Lucas made inroads through the centre and, unchallenged, rolled the ball through for Kane. With the angle tightening, the England captain squared for Son, who slid in to apply the finishing touch and open up a healthy lead for Spurs.
Though Joelinton had something of a half chance early into the second half, it felt as though the sting had been taken out of the game and the Magpies continued to look ragged at the back. A Spurs counter on the hour mark almost led to a fourth, but Ndombele delayed his shot a little and ended up firing harmlessly over.
The visitors, however, looked in complete control, with United laboured and lacking a spark. After a couple of hopeful efforts from substitutes Ryan Fraser and Jacob Murphy, their hopes of staging an unlikely comeback were dealt a hammer blow as Shelvey – who, himself, had only been on the pitch since the 60th minute – was given his marching orders after collecting a second yellow card.
That wasn’t quite the end of the action, though. Out of nowhere, the Magpies at least got a second goal to their name as Dier, under little pressure, nodded the ball into the far corner of his own net following a Murphy free kick.
But, in the end, it mattered little. Spurs saw out the remaining exchanges with relative ease, with Wilson’s early opener – and the jubilant scenes that followed – feeling like a distant memory.