Nothing ventured nothing gained they say. Well, you couldn’t accuse Rafa’s men of being unadventurous in this one and can consider themselves extremely unfortunate to leave London with nothing.
The gaffa’s frustration from the last couple of performances will have eased somewhat after a display that saw his team dominate in chances if not in territory. Mo Diame imperious in midfield once more.
It was clear Newcastle were pushing for a strong finish to the season as there were going to be no excuses in terms of fielding a weakened team with Benitez putting out arguably his strongest side. Tottenham had also given Newcastle a helping hand by starting Magpies villain in chief for the night in ex midfielder and general layabout Sissoko.
In the end though a quality finish from Kane, assisted by the little rat Alli who was lucky not to see a red card, the difference.
STARTING XI: Dubravka, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Dummett, Shelvey, Diame, Ritchie, Perez, Kenedy (Murphy, 71), Gayle (Joselu, 76)
Spurs started strongly. A cracking free kick from Eriksen on 10 minutes, after a silly foul by Kenedy, was well saved by Dubravka. Moments later Perez then broke clear but Lloris was also equal to that shot.
After 13 minutes Sissoko tripped Gayle right on the edge of the box after a good pass by Shelvey to find Newcastle’s number 9. The resultant free kick was struck beautifully by Shelvey but agonisingly would only find the outside of the post and go wide.
Newcastle battling back after being under the cosh in the first 10 minutes.
With almost 30 minutes on the clock Newcastle could, once more, have broken the deadlock. This time a well worked corner would end with Lascelles heading towards goal only to see Lloris unbeatable once more between the sticks.
Newcastle again would go close on 40 minutes after good work from Diame would end in another shot straight at the Spurs keeper, this time from Perez. The closest Spurs would come before the break would be a header by Kane from a Trippier header.
Nil nil then at the break with Benitez undoubtedly the happier of the two managers.
A bright start in the second half from Newcastle again applied pressure to the Spurs back line with Gayle and Kenedy both causing issues and Diame with a tame header in the opening exchanges.
Wouldn’t you know it. With Newcastle seemingly on top one ball from Alli and one quality hit from Kane form the edge of the area …1-0 Tottenham.
On 57 minutes Newcastle had a huge shout for a penalty when Lloris charged feet first into Perez for what had to be a spot kick. Referee Neil Swarbrick waved away vociferous protests lead by Matt Ritchie who was adamant the ref should have given the penalty.
A great run from substitute Murphy on 70 minutes ended in him missing the target from six yards. If only the end product had matched the build up with Perez also screaming for a square ball that would have seen the number 17 with a tap in.
Spurs pretty much killed the game from that point in. Tired legs on a big pitch after working so hard and with so little in return adding to the frustration.
1-0 the final score.
This game, as with several others this season, demonstrates how Newcastle would have been so much better off this season with just that little bit more quality, especially in creative areas and with a proven goalscorer up front. Undone by a team that looked a yard off Newcastle for most of the game purely by virtue of that sprinkle of class. And whilst Newcastle may be one million miles off securing the services of a striker like Kane, it must continue to be disheartening for the Magpies boss to know that just a bit extra they’d have secured points from games like this.
And so we move to Chelsea last this weekend. One to enjoy and the fight for 10th goes on. Who’d have thought.