Club Focus – Newcastle – Deja vu for Toon after another late leveller

Newcastle were guilty of throwing away a winning position for the second week in a row as they conceded a late equaliser against Tottenham.

A goal in injury time from Aaron Lennon prevented the Magpies from securing victory over one of the league’s top teams. Only a week previously they had conceded an injury time equaliser from a single goal lead in the local derby against Sunderland. It is an issue that Alan Pardew needs to address as his side have taken only two points when really it should have been all six. Nevertheless there are plenty of encouraging signs that Newcastle are heading in the right direction.

With only four fully fit midfielders and talisman Andy Carroll again absent through injury a point was still a decent result against a Spurs side that have lost only once in their past 14 games. The game never got going until the second half as Tottenham enjoyed most of the possession but struggled to create chances against a well-organised home team. However after Fabricio Coloccini’s opener the game was much more open with both sides showing greater attacking intent. Shola Ameobi, Peter Lovenkrands and Nile Ranger were all guilty of wasting chances to put the Magpies out of sight. It came down to a rare defensive blunder from Danny Simpson at right back to allow Spurs’ to score a late equaliser.

Argentinean defender Coloccini was again in fine form at both ends of the pitch as he continues to excel this season. Many of his fellow countrymen would have been proud of the goal to put Newcastle 1-0 up. He cushioned the ball with his chest then unleashed a powerful strike to score on his 100th appearance for the black and whites. It was a fitting way to mark a century milestone for a player who has become a real fans’ favourite. After struggling to cope with the fast physical nature of English football in his debut season a year in the Championship allowed the Argentina international to adapt to the different demands. He now looks a more assured Premier League player with a class and composure that few other centre halves can match.

Manager Alan Pardew felt that his team’s gung-ho attitude worked against them as they failed to see out the match from a winning position. After the game he said: “It is disappointing for the players because we lost a late goal last week under different kind of circumstances in terms of we got really deep and was rash with a few clearances. But today, it was the opposite – we was too stretched and charging around looking for a second so somewhere in the middle there is a balance.”

Pardew and his players will now be flying out to Portugal as they have a free week due to their FA Cup exit. While it will allow the players a chance to re-charge their barriers after a hectic period between December and January the manager is also planning to use the time away to work on his player’s fitness levels. This could be a factor in why they have conceded late goals for two consecutive games.

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