SHOLA Ameobi opened his seasonal account with a stunning equaliser – then admitted his first goal had been a long time in coming!
Ameobi’s (pictured) 86th-minute strike earned Newcastle United a point from yesterday’s game against Tottenham Hotspur.
Alan Pardew’s side twice came from behind to draw 2-2 and stretch their league and cup unbeaten run to 10 games this season.
And the long-serving striker will have hit few of his previous 70 goals as sweetly as the one which left Brad Friedel helpless.
Jubilant Ameobi – who came on for United’s other goalscorer, Demba Ba, in the 71st minute – was jus glad to be back on the field after a frustrating few weeks out with a shoulder problem.
“It’s fantastic to score my first goal – it’s been a long time coming as a few of the boys have told me!” Ameobi said.
“I’m excited. We’ve kept the unbeaten run going, which is great.
“It’s something we’re proud of, and it gives us great confidence as a squad of players that we can match the best, especially at home.
“It was a great feeling after the game – we came up against a top side, and we battled them all the way.
“It was one of those that you just try and get on target. Obviously, the angle wasn’t great, but I’ve caught it and it’s hit the back of the net before Brad Friedel’s even dived.
“It’s one of those shots you hit probably one in 50 times. It’s obviously come at a good time for us when we were pushing for the equaliser.”
Newcastle remain fourth in the Premier League, and struggling Wigan Athletic are next up at St James’s Park on Saturday.
With the belief in the dressing room growing by the week, there’s a confidence among Pardew’s players that they can be a match for anyone this season.
Ameobi added: “We’re not getting carried away – it’s only eight games into the season.
“We know it’s a long season, and we’ll have our ups and downs, but we’ve got a belief that we can come through pretty much anything.”
The breakthrough arrived five minutes before half-time, and it did so to the horror of Newcastle defender Steven Taylor.
Taylor tracked Adebayor’s run into the penalty area and saw the former Togo international go down under his challenge.
Referee Lee Probert took his time with the defender protesting his innocence but eventually pointed to the spot and, amid a cacophony of boos from the home fans, Van der Vaart sent Krul the wrong way to open the scoring.
Newcastle needed just three minutes to get themselves back on terms, and they did so in some style as Gutierrez produced a wonderful, mazy run.
The Argentina international skipped pass Modric and then full-back Kyle Walker on the left before crossing for the unmarked Ba to slide in and send the ball goalwards, where Friedel could only carry it into his own net.
Redknapp opted for even more pace with 63 minutes gone when he replaced Van der Vaart with Defoe, and the newcomer wasted little time in making his mark.
Having already forced Krul to sprint from his line to cut out Parker’s through-ball, he turned smartly on the midfielder’s pass to thump a left-footed shot past the keeper and into the bottom corner.
Pardew threw on Hatem Ben Arfa and Ameobi after withdrawing Ba and Best with 19 minutes remaining, and it was the home side which finished the stronger.
Friedel had to pull off fine saves from Tiote and then Ryan Taylor as time ran down, but there was nothing he could do to prevent Ameobi from snatching a point with his drilled 86th-minute strike.
Defoe and Fabricio Coloccini both might have won it in a breathless conclusion, but the spoils were ultimately shared.
Newcastle: Krul, Coloccini, Simpson (Santon 77), R Taylor, S Taylor, Cabaye, Gutierrez, Tiote, Obertan, Ba (Ben Arfa 71), Best (Sh Ameobi 71). Subs: Elliot, Santon, Ben Arfa, Gosling, Marveaux, Lovenkrands, Sh Ameobi.
Tottenham: Friedel, Bale, Kaboul King (Bassong 30), Walker, Assou-Ekotto, Parker, Van der Vaart (Defoe 63), Modric, Livermore, Adebayor (Pavlyuchenko 89). Subs: Cudicini, Bassong, Rose, Townsend, Pavlyuchenko, Giovani, Defoe
Ref: Mr Probert Att: 46,420