Newcastle United 0 Tottenham Hotspur 1

Last updated : 21 August 2004 By Footymad Previewer

Some things never change as Newcastle embarked upon another of their now customary woeful starts to the season.

Despite some excellent attacking football in the first hour when they created a hatful of chances, Newcastle were floored by a Timothee Atouba goal after which they were never able to get back in contention.

The Cameroon international scored a stunning winner after 51 minutes when he wrong-footed former team-mate Stephen Carr to drive an unstoppable shot across Shay Given.

Newcastle ended the match with four forwards, but even so never looked like grabbing an equaliser against a Spurs side that rarely return from St James' Park with any reward.

Newcastle's fans vented their anger at the final whistle as they witnessed their first home defeat since Blackburn also grabbed a 1-0 win in December 2003.

It was tough going on Craig Bellamy who covered every inch of the park for the United cause.

However, far too many players had off days and when Newcastle needed that extra bit of inspiration, there was no-one to supply it.

The midfield delivery was poor and lacked penetration and United relied far too much on the pace of Bellamy to find them an opening.

Bellamy showed a sign of what was to come as early as the second minute when he latched on to an Olivier Bernard ball down the left and charged forward only to see Paul Robinson claw his shot behind for a corner.

Bellamy's pace and direct running was the highlight of the opening half as he caused panic stations in the Spurs rearguard.

Spurs hit back and England international Jermain Defoe neatly turned Andy O'Brien in the box but scuffed his shot straight at Shay Given.

Jamie Redknapp drove straight at Given from 25 yards before Newcastle came within inches of breaking the deadlock after 11 minutes with a flowing move involving Jermaine Jenas and Bellamy.

They worked a one-two on the halfway line with Jenas racing clear down the left and beating the onrushing Robinson to the ball only to see his effort go under the body of his England colleague and scrape past the far post.

Robinson was in the firing line again after 26 minutes to deny James Milner his first goal since his summer move from Leeds.

Carr's deep cross from the right was headed across goal by Alan Shearer and the Premiership's youngest marksman Milner could barely believe it as his former Leeds teammate finger-tipped his left-foot volley over the bar.

From the corner Jenas headed narrowly wide and he did the same again after 33 minutes from another Laurent Robert corner.

Ironically, the Spurs winner came from a Laurent Robert mistake - a player constantly overlooked by Spurs boss Jacques Santini when he was manager of the French national side.

Robert, who had a game to forget, gave the ball away on the left and caught out his own defence. Redknapp, furious when he was later substituted, broke through the middle and fed the marauding Atouba on the left.

Carr showed the former FC Basel player the inside and Atouba struck the sweetest of cross-shots to leave Given with absolutely no chance.

It was almost 2-0 after 64 minutes when Defoe turned well to get in a shot that flew to safety off the legs of Given.

Robert tried his luck seconds later and his shot struck Nourreddine Naybet and flew wide when it could easily have ended up in the net.

The enigmatic Frenchman was then left holding his head in disbelief seconds later when he was pinpointed by Shearer's header only to see his shot superbly turned behind by Robinson.

Ledley King then had a header cleared off the line before Newcastle made a triple substitution after 77 minutes.

On went Patrick Kluivert, Shola Ameobi and Kieron Dyer for Robert, Jenas and Milner but they never really threatened and the jeers at the final whistle told their own story.

United did have one late shout for a penalty when Atouba clearly pushed Shearer in the back when going for a corner and although the Magpies skipper went sprawling, referee Mike Dean would have nothing to do with the protests.