Aaron Lennon struck in injury time to salvage a 1-1 draw for Tottenham against Newcastle at St James’ Park on Saturday.
Lennon scored in the 90th minute to cancel out a rare, but sweetly struck, goal from defender Fabricio Coloccini in a match where the north London club failed to find their usual fluent style.
The last time Tottenham won on Tyneside was in 2004 when Harry Redknapp’s son, Jamie, was still playing for the team.
And the omens did not look good for the Spurs manager from the outset of this match with his first-choice goalkeeper Gomes being ruled out with a shoulder injury, and the highly influential Gareth Bale limping off the field after just 13 minutes.
Newcastle duly took the initiative in the first half, restricting the visitors to a handful of half-chances, while creating the better goal-scoring opportunities at the other end.
With star striker Andy Carroll still three weeks away from returning after a thigh injury, the onus was once again on Shola Ameobi and Leon Best to spearhead the attack.
The duo’s aerial presence quickly unsettled the Tottenham defence and provided Newcastle with a host of early chances to take the lead. Ameobi twice fired over the bar from the edge of the area and 30 minutes in, Best hit the bar from close range after connecting with a pinpoint cross from Jonas Gutierrez.
Newcastle started the second half in a similar vein and with all the attacking impetus coming from Gutierrez’s runs and crosses from the left, it seemed only a matter of time before Ameobi or Best notched a goal from his teasing build-up play.
But the opener ended up coming from the most unlikely source. Joey Barton spotted that Coloccini had advanced into the Spurs penalty area and delivered a perfect cross-field pass, allowing the Argentine to chest the ball down and neatly dispatch it into the far corner after 58 minutes.
Alan Pardew’s team were desperate for a win after last week’s derby draw with bitter rivals Sunderland, and substitute Peter Lovenkrands and Ameobi both had chances to secure all three points.
But with the game slipping away from them, Tottenham piled on the pressure, firstly by bringing on Peter Crouch for midfielder Jermaine Jenas and then with a long-range effort from Luka Modric which rattled Harper’s bar.
Their pressure finally paid off when Lennon jinked inside from the left-wing in the final minute of normal time and slotted the ball through the struggling Toon defence and into the bottom left-hand corner.