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 Sunday, 29 December, 2002, 15:58 GMT
Magpies fend off Spurs
Alan Shearer celebrates his goal
Alan Shearer celebrates another winning goal
Newcastle 2-1 Tottenham

Newcastle moved into fourth spot in the Premiership after edging out Tottenham in a thriller at St James' Park.

Goals from Gary Speed and Alan Shearer put Newcastle in the driving seat in a match that was almost a throwback to bygone days on a bog of a pitch.

If you think Chelsea's pitch is bad you should try playing on ours.

Alan Shearer

But Spurs had played their part throughout and after Nikos Dabizas's own goal threw them a lifeline, Tottenham laid a late siege to Newcastle's goal.

Spurs made a confident start and Gus Poyet blazed a fourth minute shot high over the bar as he turned sharply.

Craig Bellamy and Robbie Keane both served early notice of their intentions.

First Bellamy cut inside from the left touchline, and slipped Ledley King's challenge to side-foot a tame shot straight at Kasey Keller.

Key moments
17mins: Speed fires Newcastle ahead.
58mins:Shearer doubles Newcastle's advantage.
73mins: Dabizas own goal throws Spurs a lifeline.

Keane then teased and tormented Andy O'Brien as he bore into the Newcastle box and his shot from a tight angle was beaten away by Shay Given.

Bellamy wasted a golden opportunity to put his side ahead on 12 minutes when he latched on to King's headed back-pass but pulled his shot wide with only Keller to beat.

The miss was not too costly as Newcastle took the lead five minutes later.

Spurs' Ledley King has his shirt pulled by Craig Bellamy
Craig Bellamy gets shirty with Ledley King

Spurs failed to deal with Laurent Robert's long throw and Goran Bunjevcevic's header fell for Speed, who rasped a crisp shot home from 12 yards.

As Newcastle pressed for a second, Keller denied Aaron Hughes and a trademark Shearer header from a corner was smuggled off the line by Stephen Carr.

Back came Spurs, though, and after Newcastle survived a frantic goalmouth scramble, Mauricio Taricco was denied a first-ever Tottenham goal by Given's stunning save.

Given preserved Newcastle's lead with another point-blank save from Poyet who sneaked in behind a static defence and in an open attacking game, Spurs asked most of the questions.

Shearer set his sights as Newcastle were awarded a free-kick 20 yards out but the Spurs wall held firm as the former England captain slammed his shot into it.

Newcastle were quickest into their stride at the start of the second half, with Bellamy squirming to the byeline where he failed to pick out a team-mate with his cross.

Jermaine Jenas and Gus Poyet  in a tangle
Spurs's Gus Poyet gets to grips with Jermaine Jenas

Susbstitute Lomano Lua Lua's mazy run took him into the danger area where he was eventually outnumbered by yellow shirts.

The pressure eventually told as Spurs failed to close Bellamy down quickly enough and he was given time to pick out Shearer who buried his header at the far post.

Lua Lua spurned the chance to heap more misery on when he opted to shoot from a tight angle with Bellamy unmarked in front of goal.

We showed couarage and character and I felt we deserved a point

Spurs boss Glenn Hoddle

Spurs threw on Teddy Sheringham and Les Ferdinand to try and salvage something but were handed a lifeline by a spectacular headed own goal from Dabizas.

It sparked a late siege from Spurs, but Newcastle held out for their eighth successive home win.




Newcastle: Given, Hughes, O'Brien, Caldwell, Bernard, Solano (LuaLua 45), Dyer (Dabizas 45), Speed (Jenas 23), Robert, Shearer, Bellamy.
Subs not used: Harper, Ameobi.

Booked: Dabizas

Tottenham: Keller, Perry, Bunjevcevic, King, Carr, Poyet (Sheringham 68), Freund, Davies, Taricco, Keane (Acimovic 79), Iversen (Ferdinand 68).
Subs not used: Sullivan, Thatcher.

Booked: Freund, Perry

Attendance: 52,145

Referee: S Bennett (Kent)

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
 BBC Five Live's Dave Woods
"More injury worries will concern Bobby Robson"
 Newcastle United boss Sir Bobby Robson
"It was a difficult but wonderful game"
 Spurs boss Glenn Hoddle
"We gifted them two goals"
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