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Tottenham Hotspur winger Aaron Lennon came to his side’s rescue with a dramatic stoppage-time equaliser at St James’ Park.

Lennon struck in the first minute of added time to secure a point for Spurs whose Premier League title ambitions seemed destined to suffer a major set-back following Fabricio Coloccini’s opener for Newcastle United.

Until Lennon’s intervention, Spurs manager Harry Redknapp, who saw Gareth Bale limp off early on, would have been forgiven for thinking a week that saw him mugged would end up in miserable fashion as a slew of chances were wasted before the England international struck.

Jermain Defoe set the tone for a frustrating afternoon for Redknapp when he had an early sight of goal but his shot on the run swerved wide following Lennon’s pass as Spurs tried to hit their hosts on the break in the third minute.

After collapsing on the half-way line, Bale limped towards the visitors’ dressing room in the 11th minute with the recurrence of a back injury.

Spurs manager Harry Redknapp brought on former Newcastle defender Sebastien Bassong in place of the Welshman with debutant Steven Pienaar left to patrol the left wing.

The set-back failed to halt Spurs and Defoe was denied by Harper from an acute angle after Luka Modric’s pass and then Rafael Van der Vaart tried his luck from distance but his deflected shot was easily smothered.

Spurs dominated the midfield exchanges thanks to the efforts of

Newcastle old boy Jermaine Jenas, Van Der Vaart and Modric but their defence looked vulnerable and Shola Ameobi shot just over a goal kept by Carlo Cudicini, in for Heurelho Gomes who suffered a shoulder in training on Friday.

Then Leon Best very nearly put in the 28th minute when Jose Enrique’s excellent cross eluded Cudicini and the striker slid in front of Bassong to send a first-time shot crashing against the underside of the crossbar.

Back came Spurs and Defoe sent a shot arrowing narrowly wide after being invited to shot by Van Der Vaart.

Defoe wasted the best opening of the first half in stoppage time when Van Der Vaart’s flick sent him through but thumped a low shot straight at Harper.

Newcastle started the second half brightly and Best nodded just wide after Bassong misjudged Jonas Gutierrez’s near-post cross.

Spurs flattered to deceive as an attacking unit due to Coloccini’s defensive work and thanks to Danny Guthrie’s rising influence in midfield and Joey Barton’s tenacity, Newcastle managed to gain the upper hand in a contest that took off after the break.

The breakthrough came in the 59th minute as Guthrie was spotted Coloccini lurking just behind Alan Hutton in the penalty box. His cross-field ball was chested down by the Argentine who, with his marker wrong-footed, tried his luck with a first-time shot from 15 yards out

that beat Cudicini’s weak attempt to push the ball to safety. Harper was far more impressive than his Italian counterpart and he pushed Lennon’s low shot around his right-hand post. Substitute Peter Lovenkrands, on for Best, should have doubled

Newcastle’s lead when he latched on to Barton’s through-ball but struck a first-time shot straight at Cudicini who then denied Ameobi with a flying save to keep out his left-footed curler before the striker glanced Barton’s corner just wide.

Peter Crouch was sent on to give his team’s attack more focus and Modric almost grabbed an equaliser in the 76th minute after Barton carelessly surrendered possession but his 20-yard shot thudded against Harper’s crossbar.

Spurs seemed certain to suffer a fifth successive defeat on Tyneside until Defoe found Lennon and the former Leeds player side-stepped a couple of Newcastle defenders before beating Harper with a low shot into the right-hand corner of the goal.

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