Newcastle 2-2 Tottenham: Joe Willock’s late equaliser secures vital point in relegation battle

Report and free match highlights as Joelinton scores only his second Premier League goal at St James’ Park; Harry Kane netted quickfire double soon after; Arsenal loanee Joe Willock fires home a late equaliser as Newcastle battle against relegation

Football journalist

Sunday 4 April 2021 18:39, UK

Joe Willock’s late equaliser secured a deserved – and vital – 2-2 draw for Newcastle against Tottenham, with Spurs missing the chance to go fourth.

All eyes were on Newcastle after a dismal defeat to Brighton two weeks ago, but the international break seemed to breathe new life into the team as they deservedly went ahead when Joelinton (28) fired home.

But the lead was short-lived as Kane bundled in the equaliser less than two minutes later (30), before powering home a superb second not long after (34).

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Much like the first-half goals, it was a short period towards the end of the game that ultimately decided the outcome. Kane spurned a golden chance to wrap up the three points and his hat-trick when he clipped the post, before Arsenal loanee Willock (86) found the net via the underside of the crossbar two minutes later.

17 – Joe Willock's equaliser was Newcastle's 17th shot from inside the box against Spurs today; their most in a single Premier League game under Steve Bruce. Invited. #NEWTOT pic.twitter.com/oNtcunVw2R

It was the least Newcastle deserved after a much-improved performance. They remain 17th on 29 points and avoided ending the day in the bottom three after Fulham’s loss to Aston Villa. Newcastle also have a game in hand over the London side with a three-point cushion.

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Tottenham miss the chance to go into the top four, instead moving into fifth, two points behind Chelsea. West Ham could displace them when they travel to Wolves on Monday Night Football.

How Newcastle secured a vital point

The first half began with sights of goal for both sides. Davinson Sanchez – making his 100th Premier League appearance – nodded the ball into Joelinton’s chest, with the Newcastle striker eventually sending his effort straight at Hugo Lloris. At the other end, Kane beat Emil Krafth before firing on the angle, but Martin Dubravka was level to it.

Newcastle had two quickfire chances to take the lead in the 19th minute. Jonjo Shelvey lofted a superb ball into the area, picking out Dwight Gayle in the middle of the defenders. His first strike forced a superb, leaping save from Lloris. Gayle was then lurking for the rebound, but his shot was caught under the body of the Tottenham goalkeeper, who was able to collect.

Joelinton @premierleague record v Tottenham:
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Joelinton @premierleague record v other sides
๐Ÿฎ ๐—ด๐—ผ๐—ฎ๐—น๐˜€ ๐—ณ๐—ฟ๐—ผ๐—บ ๐Ÿณ๐Ÿณ ๐˜€๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜๐˜€ – ๐Ÿฎ.๐Ÿฒ% ๐˜€๐—ต๐—ผ๐˜ ๐—ฐ๐—ผ๐—ป๐˜ƒ๐—ฒ๐—ฟ๐˜€๐—ถ๐—ผ๐—ป pic.twitter.com/4WNzBFKzRl

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Soon after though, Newcastle took a deserved lead. Matt Ritchie collected a poor clearance from Sanchez, before slotting Sean Longstaff through. He then squared the ball for the waiting Joelinton, who emphatically fired home for only his second Premier League goal at St James’ Park.

Player ratings

Newcastle:Dubravka (7), Murphy (7), Krafth (6), Lascelles (6), Dummett (6), Shelvey (6), Ritchie (7), S Longstaff (7), Joelinton (7), Almiron (7), Gayle (7).

Subs used: Saint-Maximin (6), Willock (7), Manquillo (n/a).

Tottenham: Lloris (7), Tanganga (6), Sanchez (6), Rodon (7), Reguilon (7), Lo Celso (7), Ndombele (7), Hojbjerg (7), Moura (6), Vinicius (5), Kane (8).

Subs used: Son (6), Lamela (7), Bale (n/a).

Man of the match: Harry Kane.

But the joy was short-lived as Kane equalised 90 seconds later after some more suspect defending. Giovani Lo Celso slotted the ball through for Kane, with Krafth and Dubravka between them unable to clear their lines. Kane dinked over both, with the ball ricocheting kindly off his legs and into the back of the net.

Kane added his second in superb fashion four minutes later. Tanguy Ndombele chipped the ball in for him on the right of the area, with the striker unleashing a thunderous half volley that rifled into the far-left corner.

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Within seconds of the restart, Newcastle went close to an equaliser. Miguel Almiron curled an effort goalwards, but Lloris made a vital, fingertip save to send the ball around the post. The half continued with far fewer clear-cut chances than the first half, but Tottenham went close in the 67th minute.

Lo Celso delivered a corner, which Dubravka initially punched away. However, it landed on Tanganga’s head, sending the ball goalwards, but his effort was seen away by Almiron’s own nodded effort on the line.

Newcastle could have been left to rue a huge miss from Joelinton shortly after. Krafth sent a fizzing cross into the area, finding the striker, but he could only lash his effort past the post. Kane then let two glorious chances for his hat-trick pass him by. Much like his second goal, Ndombele played the Spurs striker through, but he could not sort his feet out and Dubravka came across to smother.

Tottenham then drove forward on a speedy break, with Lamela feeding Kane in the area, but he could only send his effort onto the post. It proved to be a pivotal moment as two minutes later, Newcastle equalised. It was a chaotic goal too, with Ritchie’s cross nodded back by Joelinton. Almiron saw his close-range header blocked by Rodon, but Willock was coming in to hammer the ball home via the underside of the crossbar, peeling away for a delirious celebration.

Man of the match – Harry Kane

Once again, Kane was the man to the rescue for Tottenham with two goals that almost won the game. The first was a real slice of luck but the second was vintage Kane – firing home into the bottom corner.

The striker has been directly involved in 45 goals in all competitions this season (29 goals and 16 assists), equalling his career-best tally from 2017/18 (41 goals and 4 assists).

Kane has also scored 84 goals in 120 away games in the Premier League for Spurs, the most goals any player has scored away from home for a single club in the competition, overtaking Wayne Rooney’s 82 for Manchester United.

What the managers said

Newcastle manager Steve Bruce said: “We’re pleased but, in my opinion, it should have been three points. I thought we were the better side, it’s as good as I’ve seen us play for a long time, especially after the debacle of two weeks ago.

“We’ve done as well as we could have hoped, we’re just disappointed we haven’t won it. But you take a point and move on. There was the performance, which I was really pleased with, considering what’s happened over the last couple of weeks.

“The spirit in the camp and the togetherness is, in my opinion, always going to be there. I alluded to it before the game, we have to it with so much nonsense up here, but after a poor five minutes where we gave the goals away, the response was there for everybody to see. The spirit is never in doubt.

“The performance is what you’re looking for after a such a poor one. We all know we let ourselves down a couple of weeks ago, so to come out here and perform against a very good team in Tottenham, I thought they were excellent. I couldn’t say anything else.

“When they set standards like they have today, it’s important that you stay there. We’re in tomorrow to start work on next week. We’ve got a crucial few weeks and let’s get ready for the challenge because there’s still a lot of football to be played. But if we stay at that level, then I’m still convinced we’ll be OK.”

Tottenham manager Jose Mourinho said: “It is not a good point. We should and we can, with the objective to win so I’m not happy with a point. I don’t want to go very deep on my analysis because I feel that what I feel, what I think, what I want to say cannot be with you, it can only be in the dressing room.

“If I analyse the performance separated from so many mistakes that lead to instability and instability leads to hope in the opposition, if I want to analyse it separate from that, I think we were very good in some moments… But I cannot do it. I cannot separate the game from these moments of instability and that’s the reason why we didn’t the game.

“Every point for Newcastle can be a crucial point. Of course we knew that and until the game was over, they were going to fight. We come to the second half with the intention of killing it and in fact, the biggest chance of the second half was just before the 2-2 where we hit the post.

“But we knew they were going to fight until the end and I think because of that fighting spirit and also because they were probably feeling a bit of fragility, they went until the end and got the point.

“It was not a problem of fight, it was not a problem of attitude, the players wanted to win but I have to be honest and say I saw things on the pitch, not in terms of attitude but in terms of profile, vision, balance, which belongs to the top players, I didn’t see in every position.

“We were three points behind Chelsea, now we’re two points behind Chelsea, so you can look at two perspectives. But it isn’t just about Chelsea, it’s about Everton, West Ham and Liverpool so you can say we got one point in relation to Chelsea but lost two to Liverpool so let’s see what the other does.

“That’s not the point for me in this moment, the point for me is to set up a team that came here with every intention to win and in the end, a little bit of déjà vu in some situations. I believe many of these white hairs, they come with things I’m not used to seeing in football matches at this level.”

Analysis: Praise for Newcastle, worry for Spurs

Sky Sports pundit Graeme Souness: “Newcastle never gave up. They were a completely different team to two weeks ago at Brighton. The supporters and manager will be heartened by that performance today.

“Spurs have given up 15 points from winning positions. That’s not a Jose trait. That’s worrying. If you want to be a top team you can’t give up leads the way they do.”

Sky Sports features editor Peter Smith: “It was a spirited, ambitious performance from Newcastle – and a fantastic response to that huge setback against Brighton before the international break.

“But from Spurs’ point of view, what a missed opportunity. They were big favourites to win today and, when Kane hit the post with them 2-1 up, they looked on course to move into the Champions League places. But another late Newcastle equaliser has cost Spurs again.

“That’s 15 points dropped from winning positions by Spurs this season. Only Southampton and Brighton have dropped more. A let-off for their rivals Chelsea, who remain fourth despite their shock loss to West Brom yesterday.”

Opta stats

  • Tottenham Hotspur have dropped four points from winning positions against Newcastle this season, their most in a season against a single side since also dropping four versus Arsenal and West Brom in 2015-16.
  • Tottenham have failed to win six Premier League games this season in which they led at half-time, the most of any side.
  • Tottenham have dropped 11 points due to goals conceded in the final 10 minutes of games this season, the most of any Premier League side.

What’s next?



Burnley
Newcastle United





Tottenham Hotspur
Manchester United


Newcastle are back on Sky Sports next Sunday when they host Burnley in the Premier League; kick-off 12pm. Tottenham will also play on April 11 when they welcome Jose Mourinho’s former side, Manchester United, live on Sky Sports; kick-off 4.30pm.

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