Belfast Telegraph

Ameobi hails proud Magpies

Shola Ameobi has put Newcastle's impressive start to the season down to little more than pride and a will to win.

The Magpies came through their toughest test to date on Sunday when they twice came from behind to claim a draw against Tottenham which kept them in fourth place in the Barclays Premier League table. Substitute Ameobi secured the point with an 86th-minute strike that sent St James' Park into raptures.

"We have got players who have got a lot of pride in the shirt that they play in, and we have got winners," he said. "We have got people who want to win games, who want to do well and who want to prove that they belong here, and that's always going to bode well."

Ameobi added: "Having a fit squad now, we have got everyone pushing each other and you know if you are not quite at it, you have got someone else ready to step in. That competition bodes well for us and it's really been fantastic to see this season."

Spurs arrived at St James' on the back of four successive league victories to meet a Newcastle side unbeaten in nine games in all competitions and seven in the league this season. Something had to give, although there was little sign of the fireworks which were to come during the opening exchanges.

The game only really exploded into life with 38 minutes gone when Steven Taylor tripped Emmanuel Adebayor as he surged into the penalty area, and after taking his time to assess the situation, referee Lee Probert pointed to the spot. Rafael van der Vaart sent keeper Tim Krul the wrong way to open the scoring and send the Magpies in at the break trailing.

However, they needed just three minutes of the second period to get themselves back on term after Jonas Gutierrez embarked upon the kind of mazy run which is becoming his trademark.

His cross fell perfectly for the unmarked Demba Ba in the middle, and although keeper Brad Friedel did his best to keep out the Senegal international's shot, he could only carry it into the net to hand the striker his fifth goal in three games.

Spurs regained their lead with 68 minutes gone when substitute Jermain Defoe turned expertly to thump a low shot past Krul, but Ameobi's sweetly-struck 86th-minute equaliser set up a grandstand finish during which both Defoe and Fabricio Coloccini might have snatched victory for their respective sides.

Ameobi said: "As a striker, goals breed confidence and that was big for me. All the other guys are off the mark and flying. Being out, you are always a little envious watching them do that, but it's always great for us as strikers. You wish your team-mate all the best and they have done well this season. It's going to be tough for me to get back into that team."

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