Newcastle had dropped 4 points in their last two home games by conceding 90th minute equalizers on both occasions. But these things have a tendency to level themselves out over a season, and today Damien Duff came on as a sub and just two minutes later engineered and scored the last minute winner to send the Newcastle fans away ecstatic for Xmas.
If anything this match did not live up to its expectations as both teams tended to snuff each other out.
Again the Newcastle defense was steady but were unable to keep a clean sheet, and after 11 minutes Charles N’Zogbia, who was the star man today latched on and beat the Tottenham defender, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, on a through ball from goalkeeper and swiveled well before slotting past Brazilian goalkeeper Gomes.
But after 28 minutes Luka Modric scampered free to beat the offside trap and then put the ball under Shay Given for the equalizer. It was a disappointing goal to give away but TV replays showed that Modric was probably level and therefore onside.
The second half was not very exciting and captain Michael Owen, who is expected to sign a new contract at the club (hopefully) had a poor game.
On 71 minutes Owen should have done better when N’Zogbia, who was terrific all afternoon, delivered a low ball to the near post and Mark Viduka did well to guide the ball into the path of Owen.
But unlike Michael, his left-footed shot went well over the crossbar from just eight yards out. Oh well you score some and you miss some, but Michael should have done better and he knew it.
It looked like the game was going to play out as a draw until Kinnear, who was desperate for the win, brought on Damien Duff after 88 minutes for Jose Enrique in an attacking move.
And it turned out to be an inspired substitution, as just two minutes later Damien slipped the ball to the feet of Mark Viduka, who had replaced the injured Shola Ameobi on 30 minutes.
Mark back-heeled the ball into the path of the Irishman, before Duff slotted low past Gomes from eight yards out to put Newcastle ahead.
And indeed that was the winner, following 3 minutes of added time, and we now have two league wins in a row, and 6 games undefeated with 10 points from those games.
Joe has been in charge for 12 games at Newcastle and we have 18 points from those games (4 wins 2 defeats and 6 draws), and we are now 12th in the league, and just 3 points out of 7th position.
Roll on Wigan Athletic on Friday – we just cannot wait.
Merry Xmas to all!!