NUFC 2 – 1 Spurs

The first Premier League game of the 2012/2013 saw Tottenham Hotspur make the journey up to St James Park (I refuse to call it by that other name, you know the official name) for a 5:30pm kick off. Yes we had to wait until 5:30pm on a Saturday tea time instead of the traditional and much-loved 3pm kick off. But never mind there was a massive buzz just on the metro on the way to Newcastle for the game, nearly everyone kitted out in the new shirt and feeling very optimistic for the new season starting. And why not eh? We had a cracking season last year and should look to maintain that level of performance and attitude this season too.

Once inside the ground the buzz grew even louder and it was fantastic to see all the familiar faces I have got to know over the past 7 seasons. Yes this game was the start of my seventh as a season ticket holder! Which was kinda scary when I worked it out, has it really been that long? But last season was the best football I have seen in my season ticket holder time so I was and still am very excited about this season. It’s going to be another good one I can just feel it we held onto our core and key players and added a couple more into the squad to give it fantastic depth.

Now we usually have good games against Spurs some very memorable but the last two at SJP have been draws! Last season was a 2-2 draw so could we go one better and pick up 3 points? The answer would be yes, but it was not an easy task!

The first half was very strange, looked and felt more like the last game of the season rather than the first. The crowd was roaring but nothing really came to light on the pitch. Spurs had the better of the chances and created more dangerous attacking moves, including Jermain Defoe hitting the post! But the ball luckily fell to Steven Taylor who made sure it didn’t stay in the box long. All the waiting for this game over the summer and the first half just felt disappointing, neither team really seemed to try to play and what we ended up watching was a very negative approach of backwards passing and keep ball. Spurs kept it slightly better than we did in the first half.

But as always you have to be optimistic for the second half especially with a 0-0 scoreline, as it really doesn’t matter who was better in the first half it is still anyone’s game! We didn’t have to be concerned about that as shooting towards the Gallowgate end in the second half and Newcastle looked like a different team. Passing and keeping the ball much better than in the first half made us look instantly more dangerous. It took a fantastic finish from Demba Ba to break the deadlock seeing him take a touch out of his feet and curl the ball into the far corner . . . Demba was back and starting the new season with a goal, first of many I hope!

Spurs didn’t stop going though and we had a comedy moment from Steven Taylor when he decided that he would lie on the ground to be able to head the ball back to Tim Krul, I actually couldn’t stop laughing although I don’t think I would have been had he been in front of the Gallowgate at the time. But yes that moment really did confirm that Stevie Taylor is back! Let’s hope he can have a fantastic season after missing so much football last season!

The Spurs player who looked the sharpest and most likely to score was Jermain Defoe so there was no guessing who popped up to make sure the ball went in the back of the net after a bit of a scramble in the box, yes that’s right England’s match winner in the midweek pulled one back for Spurs. He really does know where the back of the net is.

But all was not lost and we knew we could create something else, from a corner Hatem Ben Arfa played the ball short to Cheick Tiote who then played it back to Ben Arfa. His magic feet made life difficult for two Spurs players as he decided to take the ball past both of them into the box but it was too much for Aaron Lennon who tripped him in the process . . . Penalty! Hatem picked up the ball and didn’t really look like he was going to give this one up, some words with Demba Ba and he placed in on the spot. Deep breathes, my favorite player was going to take the pen which would probably be the match winner . . . but we didn’t have to worry as Ben Arfa put the ball in the back of the net with a fantastic penalty!

In what was not the best performance we done the most important thing and started the first game of the season with a brilliant result, 3 points and 2 goals. With many positive things and something to really build on as we properly get our season underway. It is an extra 2 points from the same game from last season, so that is the best way to really take this game, oh yeah and that Demba Ba really has had the best start. Bring on Europa League on Thursday and then Chelsea next Saturday . . . Football is back and I love it!

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