Agony for Spurs as fresh handball controversy hands lucky Newcastle a share of the spoils
By Yann Tear at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Tottenham 1 Newcastle United 1
A second controversial hand ball of the weekend – this one in the dying moments – robbed Spurs of what should have been a straightforward home win.
They had dominated proceedings but ref Peter Bankes, alerted by VAR, checked his monitor after being told a header from Andy Carroll had brushed the arm of Eric Dier.
The fact Dier’s arm was behind him and that the Spurs defender was unable to get out of the way made no difference. Just like Palace yesterday, a terrible miscarriage of justice had been enacted.
Joe Mourinho was so disgusted he stormed off from the dugout before Callum Wilson had converted calmly to give the Magpies an undeserved share of the spoils.
It was rough on Spurs, who should have sealed their first home win of the season long before the end, thanks to a first-half performance full of energy when they fashioned plenty of chances.
And energy is the one feature of their game that is being put to the test above all others in an early season of crazy, compressed scheduling.
Lucas Moura ended a run of 22 Premier League games without a goal to give Tottenham a half-time lead which really should have been much more emphatic, with only the excellence of Karl Darlow and the woodwork keeping the Geordies in the hunt after the break.
If Spurs are culpable of anything, it is that they were nowhere near as dangerous during a ponderous second half, especially because the irrepressible Heung-Min Son had been taken off with what is hopefully not a signal of a long-term injury.
The South Korean’s incisive runs were missed, but Newcastle posed little threat throughout and never looked likely to salvage a draw. That made the denouement even more galling for Mourinho’s side,
This was the first of three home games in five days for Tottenham. They face Chelsea in the League Cup on Tuesday and Maccabi Haifa in the Europa League on Thursday before returning to league action at Manchester United next Saturday.
At least they can do their work this week without adding sapping travels abroad to their itinerary. The treks already made to Bulgaria and Macedonia have surely proved as testing as the fixtures themselves.
It needed a fine double save from Darlow to prevent Spurs taking an early lead their dominance deserved in what proved to be the pattern of the opening 45 minutes.
The keeper leapt to his left to claw out a fine free-kick from Giovani Lo Celso, then sprang up to deny Harry Kane, following up with a shot from close range.
Moments later and the Magpies were again indebted to Darlow for a fine reaction save to keep out a Kane header, when it had again looked a certain goal for the England striker.
But with traffic remaining mostly one way, a Spurs goal looked only a matter of time and in the 25th minute, Moura slid in to tap in at the far post after Kane had got past Isaac Hayden to play a wicked angled ball across the six-yard line.
Son, who had fed Kane in the build-up, then went close with a left-footer which cannoned back off a post and before the half was out, curled another great shot onto the crossbar.
In between all that, Darlow was at full stretch to deny Kane again as the ridiculously one-sided affair continued. Only a flashing volley from Jonjo Shelvey caused any kind of palpitation in the home dugout.
Erik Lamela came off the bench and almost made it 2-0 with a free-kick swung into the near post. It seemed academic, with time running out. It proved to be anything but.
Tottenham: Lloris – Doherty, Sanchez, Dier, Davies – Hojberg, Winks, Lo Celso (Ndombele 77) – Lucas (Lamela 79), Kane, Son (Bergwijn h/t). Subs not used: Reguilon, Alderweireld, Hart, Fernandes