Joe Willock hits late equaliser for Newcastle to dent Tottenham’s top-four hopes

Joe Willock enhanced his standing with Arsenal fans and rescued a point from relegation scrappers Newcastle.

The midfielder, on loan from the Gunners, came off the bench to finish a “extra sweet” goal against his parent club’s big rivals.

And it put a dent in Jose Mourinho’s hopes of clinching fourth place and qualifying for the Champions League.

He smashed home from close range as Steve Bruce’s men showed to fight, firstly to stay in the game against Harry Kane inspired Spurs, then to grab a draw that could prove vital come May.

Newcastle have decided to stick with Bruce despite just two wins in 21 games.

This sort of gritty team show, strengthens that controversial decision, even if many fans want him sacked. They had a season best 22 attempts on goal and never gave up.

Kane scored twice for Tottenham

If the Brighton game two weeks ago was pathetic, there was some pride on display from Bruce’s men. Much to Mourinho’s frustration.

In the 85th minute a wriggling surge from Allan Saint Maximin, back after three games out with a groin injury, set recalled feisty Matt Ritchie away on the left.

The wing-back whipped in a great deep cross for Joelinton to head across goal and Willock to be the Geordie and Arsenal hero.

Willock said: “That was a big goal. I was happy to have an impact. I am an Arsenal player and that makes it sweeter, but I’m happy to do my job. I like to get in the box and score.

“We are willing to fight for each other. We will have no problems staying in this league if we fight like today. The manager told me to run around and get a goal.”

Joelinton opened the scoring
Joelinton opened the scoring

Kane will be gutted not to have carried Spurs to the win, having grabbed a double, and hit the post seconds before United levelled.

The equaliser made it 15th points squandered from winning positions by Mourinho’s side this season. They remain behind Chelsea who occupy fourth.

With Saint Maximin back in action and Callum Wilson returning against Burnley next week, Newcastle may yet have enough to dig themselves out of relegation trouble.

Striker Joelinton put in a decent shift. It was the Brazilian record signing who grabbed the opener, exploiting a poor pass from England U21 right back Japhet Tanganga. Sean Longstaff pounced on the mistake and squared in the box to give Joelinton a simple finish for his fourth of the season.

But 90 seconds later Spurs were level, the first of two shambolic episodes of defending.

Giovani Lo Celso slotted a clever ball into the box, which Emil Krafth over stepped and missed his chance to clear, and it bobbled to England talisman Kane for a tap in.

Kane had his second four minutes later. Tanguy Ndombele slid a ball inside Paul Dummett at left centre back, allowing Kane to strike perfectly into the far corner. The 50th goal Newcastle have conceded this season.

The 27-year-old is red hot in 2021, having scored 14 goals since the turn of the year. Kane has five in his last four games for club and country having netted for Gareth Southgate against Poland and Albania last week.

Kane has now scored 29 goals this season with 16 assists, his most influential tally for three years.

Spurs came close to a third when Lo Celso’s corner was powered goalward by Tanganga and nodded off the line by Almiron, then Joelinton wasted a great free shot eight yards out, slashing wide.

Kane was denied a hat-trick in the 73rd minute, when Dubravka smothered his shot when through on goal, then hit the post in the 84th.

Seconds later Willock had the last laugh – in Newcastle and North London.

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