Holders heap misery on Magpies
Pavlyuchenko and O'Hara on target in 2-1 win
By Lewis Rutledge. Last Updated: 24/09/08 10:52pm
Spurs celebrate O'Hara's goal
Tottenham began their defence of the Carling Cup with a 2-1 victory over struggling Newcastle.
There were few opportunities in a lacklustre first half but Tottenham improved dramatically after the break and opened the scoring through Roman Pavlyuchenko.
Jamie O'Hara then capitalised on poor defending to give Spurs some breathing space and Juande Ramos' side survived an anxious final few minutes after Michael Owen reduced Newcastle's deficit late on.
Newcastle and Tottenham may currently be 19th and 20th in the Premier League but neither manager decided to make wholesale changes as strong starting XIs took to the pitch in front of a sparse crowd at St James' Park.
The Magpies came into the game on the back of three successive defeats while Tottenham were hunting for their first win in domestic action, so it was perhaps no surprise that the quality on show in the opening exchanges was not of the highest order.
There was an early injury scare for Heurelho Gomes when he rushed off his line to gather a free-kick and collided with Steven Taylor, but the Brazilian goalkeeper was fit to continue after several minutes of treatment.
Gomes, who is nicknamed 'The Octopus', showed no ill effects as he pulled off a routine save in the 20th minute from Obafemi Martins - back in the Newcastle side following a groin problem.
The home team enjoyed most of the possession in the first half but it was Tottenham who had the first decent chance as Jonathan Woodgate, scorer of the winning goal in last season's final against Chelsea, volleyed wide from Gareth Bale's free-kick.
Pavlyuchenko also came close to breaking the deadlock with a powerful header, while Aaron Lennon looked dangerous down the right and posed some problems for Sebastien Bassong.
Newcastle rarely threatened with Owen receiving virtually no service, although stand-in midfielder Claudio Cacapa did head narrowly wide from a corner.
The second half began much more brightly and Damien Duff almost scored for Newcastle within two minutes of the restart after sliding a shot past Gomes, but Woodgate raced back superbly to clear the ball off the line.
Spurs also tried to step up the tempo with Juande Ramos bringing on Giovani Dos Santos for Bale and switching Lennon over to the left wing.
Dos Santos provided a much-needed for spark for Tottenham and was not scared to run at the Newcastle defence, while Pavlyuchenko nearly seized on a rebound after Shay Given had found Assou-Ekotto's ferocious strike from distance too hot to handle.
Gomes was also called into action to make a fine save at the other end, beating away Owen's shot after the striker turned Woodgate expertly.
The breakthrough came on 62 minutes when Lennon found space on the left to pick out Pavlyuchenko with a precise cross, and the Russian rose unmarked to head strongly past Given.
Spurs doubled their advantage just four minutes later as Fabricio Coloccini's pass to Taylor was intercepted by O'Hara and the 21-year-old kept his composure admirably to finish clinically.
Martins tested Gomes with a long-range effort moments later as Newcastle battled bravely, but Tottenham looked the most likely to score next as they began to find some fluency going forward.
Croatian playmaker Luka Modric stepped off the substitutes' bench to make his return from injury, before Newcastle scored against the run of play in the 90th minute.
Xisco's teasing cross from the right was scrambled clear by a diving Gomes and Owen lashed the ball into the net, but Spurs clung on to progress to the last 16 with Woodgate and Ledley King both in imperious form.
|Newcastle United||Team Statistics||Tottenham Hotspur|
|0||1st Half Goals||0|
|5||Shots on Target||3|
|3||Shots off Target||7|