Heung-Min Son’s goal was the difference between the two sides as Tottenham Hotspur beat Newcastle United with a late winner at Wembley Stadium on Saturday lunchtime.
It was the third league game in a row in which Spurs secured maximum points with a late goal, Son’s 83rd-minute strike following on from matches against Fulham and Watford, where Harry Winks and Fernando Llorente struck late respectively to clinch dramatic victories. The win was no more than Spurs deserved as they took the game to the Magpies for the majority of the contest but spurned good chances, Lucas Moura heading wide early on, Erik Lamela hitting the post and Newcastle twice clearing off the line in the second half.
The victory sees spurs climb up to second place in the Premier League table ahead of the rest of the weekend’s matches, while it also set a new league record as spurs have now gone 29 games in the division without a draw.
It was a relatively cagey start to the game on a sunny but cold afternoon, but spurs had a glorious chance to take the lead on 16 minutes when Lamela delivered a cross which found Lucas completely unmarked on the edge of the six yard box and onside, but he could only head wide of Martin Dubravka’s goal. Eight minutes later spurs went close again, this time Jan Vertonghen – making is 200th Premier League appearance for us and operating at left-back – sent over a centre from the left which flicked up on its way through to Lamela, but his header smacked against the crossbar.
Newcastle were defending in numbers but broke when they could and carved out a chance of their own on 28 minutes. Matt Ritchie attacked down the left, his cross falling perfectly for Ayoze Perez but his shot was blocked by Toby Alderweireld and, as the rebound came to Salomon Rondon, Christian Eriksen was across to block his effort and did so again to concede a corner, which ultimately came to nothing.
It was another ball into the box which saw spurs force another opportunity, Eriksen sending over a corner which was met sweetly on the volley by ex-Newcastle man Moussa Sissoko. Dubravka got down well to save and although he spilled the shot, Davinson Sanchez just couldn’t get to the loose ball and it was hacked clear.
Spurs enjoyed 72 per cent possession in the first half, but only managed one shot on target and went in goalless at the break with work to do.
Just six minutes into the second period, it was the visitors’ turn to hit the woodwork when Rondon headed DeAndre Yedlin’s centre back across goal with Hugo Lloris rooted to the spot, but his effort hit the post. An attacking change was made on the hour mark with Llorente replacing Lucas and we continued to be the dominant force in the game, going literally inches from scoring in the 65th minute. Lamela’s corner was glanced on by Son, flicked goalwards by Eriksen and, with Dubravka beaten, Fabian Schar somehow got back to hook the ball off the goal-line.
Spurs still had to be mindful to the threat of a counter and needed a smart save from Lloris to maintain parity as he dived full-length across his goal to keep out Perez’s 22-yard drive. But most of the action was at the other end and we went close again when a Kieran Trippier corner was hit goalwards by Vertonghen, helped on by Eriksen, but Ritchie this time cleared off the line.
Spurs weren’t to be denied though as the pressure finally told. With seven minutes remaining, the ball was clipped in to Llorente who held off his man and chested it on to Son, the South Korean cutting onto his right foot and drilling a low hard shot which went through Dubravka and into the net to a huge sigh of relief around the stadium. Llorente could have doubled our lead moments later but poked wide after Son had beaten Dubravka to a back-pass and Spurs had to stay defensively solid for the closing stages as the Magpies pushed for an equaliser, but we saw it out with a minimum of fuss to secure three more vital points.
Goalscorer Son, who also netted in our 2-1 win over Watford in midweek, added: “It was a very difficult game, like Wednesday. They were defending and tried to counter-attack and we had to be patient. We did it and it doesn’t matter who scores, the most important thing is to get the three points.”
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris (c), Trippier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Winks, Sissoko, Lamela (Rose 78), Eriksen, Son (Dier 89), Lucas (Llorente 60). Substitutes (not used): Gazzaniga, Walker-Peters, Foyth, Wanyama.
Newcastle (5-4-1): Dubravka, Yedlin, Schar, Lascelles (c), Lejuene, Ritchie (Barreca 86), Perez, Hayden, Longstaff, Atsu (Kenedy 82), Rondon. Substitutes (not used): Woodman, Clark, Fernandez, Manquillo, Joselu.