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The heat is on!

Posted on 19 April 2009  - 12:00

Darren Bent's 16th goal of the season was the decisive factor as we defeated Newcastle United 1-0 at a sun-drenched White Hart Lane.

The heat is on!

Darren Bent's 16th goal of the season was the decisive factor as we defeated Newcastle United 1-0 at a sun-drenched White Hart Lane.

The result takes us level on points with eighth-placed Fulham and just one point behind West Ham in the all-important seventh spot, which will guarantee a place in next season's Europa League.

It was our first league win against the Magpies in seven attempts, and they find themselves still four points off safety with just five games of the season left.

Prior to kick off, White Hart Lane held a rousing one minute applause to celebrate the life of former player Jimmy Neighbour, who sadly died last weekend.

Jimmy made 156 senior appearances for the Club between 1966 and 1976, scoring 11 goals before a move to Norwich City. He later returned to serve as a youth team coach.

Manager Harry Redknapp made two changes to the side that defeated West Ham last week.

Wilson Palacios returned from suspension to take his place in midfield alongside Tom Huddlestone, with Jermaine Jenas out injured.

Meanwhile, persistent injury problems prevented Ledley King making his sixth consecutive start. As ever, the reliable Michael Dawson was on hand to fill the void.

We were dominant in the first half against a team desperately needing the points to ease their plight.

Our first sighting at goal came after 15 minutes when Huddlestone and Luka Modric worked a short corner to Bent, who hit his shot low at Steve Harper. But nine minutes later, the striker was on hand to give us the lead.

Modric attempted a throughball to Robbie Keane, and although that was cut out by Sebastien Bassong, the loose ball ran to our leading scorer.

Bent hit his first shot straight at Harper but tucked away the rebound from a tight angle to give us the goal we deserved.

It was his first goal in four games and keeps the manager's striking options healthy with Jermain Defoe also making a return to the squad in this game after nearly three months out through injury.

Redknapp's options in midfield are also looking strong at the moment, with Huddlestone making his second consecutive start and once again proving a valuable asset.

On 28 minutes, he hit a trademark searing drive goalwards from 25 yards, which Harper did extremely well to tip over the bar.

Huddlestone repeated this act four minutes before half-time with the same result. Prior to this, Modric had another goal-bound effort blocked by Bassong, although the defender knew little about it as the ball ricocheted safely into his goalkeeper's arms.

The only low point of the first half was when Dawson landed awkwardly on his left ankle after an aerial challenge with Andy Carroll on 34 minutes, and was subsequently stretchered off in some discomfort.

But once again, the strength of Redknapp's squad was displayed again when Alan Hutton came off the bench to make his first Spurs appearance since November having been out with a foot injury.

He took up his familiar right back role, with Vedran Corluka switching to centre-half in place of Dawson.

And the Scotsman was impressive on his return, bombing forward at every opportunity and crossing superbly to the back post on the stroke of half-time for Bent to head over when he really should have done better.

Into the second half and Newcastle went desperately searching for an equaliser without actually creating a great deal.

We could have doubled our lead on a number of occasions, first on the hour mark when Bassong did well to block Palacios' 12-yard shot after Bent's cross deflected into his path.

Nine minutes later Aaron Lennon, who prior to kick-off received his PFA Player of the Month award for March, nearly marked the occasion with a goal after cutting inside from the right and sending a low left foot shot inches past the post.

Defoe was indeed introduced to a grand ovation with 15 minutes remaining, and this helped us regain the initiative in the closing stages with Newcastle having much of the possession beforehand despite our chances.

Another chance fell to Jonathan Woodgate 11 minutes from time, when Harper parried away his powerful header after Modric's corner.

Huddlestone also had another run and shot which whistled past the post before Newcastle came as close to scoring as they had done all game on 87 minutes.

Ryan Taylor played a ball in from the right and Obafemi Martins got in behind Woodgate to latch on, before controlling on his chest and lashing a shot over the bar, much to the despair of the travelling support.

Overall it was a frustrating afternoon for them, but for us it keeps our good run of form going - it's our sixth win in eight league games.


Spurs (4-4-2): Gomes; Corluka, Dawson (A Hutton, 34), Woodgate, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Huddlestone, Palacios, Modric; Bent (Defoe, 75), Keane
Subs not used: Cudicini, Bale, Zokora, Bentley, Campbell

Newcastle (3-5-2): Harper; Beye, S Taylor (Smith, 46), Bassong; R Taylor, Butt, Nolan (Viduka, 61), Gutierrez, Duff; Carroll (Martins, 61), Owen
Subs not used: Krul, Edgar, Guthrie, Ameobi