MATCH REPORT: King Arfa hits spot for NUFC in Spurs win

Dated: 18/08/2012'GOAL ... Hatem Ben Arfa salutes the crowd after scoring from the penalty spot to ensure a Newcastle victory during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Spurs at St James Park' NOT AVAILABLE FOR PRINT SALES
Dated: 18/08/2012'GOAL ... Hatem Ben Arfa salutes the crowd after scoring from the penalty spot to ensure a Newcastle victory during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Spurs at St James Park' NOT AVAILABLE FOR PRINT SALES
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SAT high in the directors’ box, Alan Pardew couldn’t have asked for a better view.

Only it wasn’t the view he wanted.

Pardew saw a dramatic last 15 minutes unfold on the pitch below him at St James’s Park.

Banished to the stand for a push on a linesman for which he will undoubtedly be heavily punished, despite his post-match apology, Pardew desperately tried to issue instructions to the bench through a walkie talkie as the game swung back and forth.

It was hard enough for the club’s fans on a bright summer’s day on Tyneside.

But what he saw will have given him heart ahead of what promises to be a long and gruelling season.

Whatever Newcastle lack in numbers – and the club still has work to do in the transfer market – they still make up in spirit.

And as the club’s attacking players get fitter, they’ll get better.

Admittedly, United were far from their best in the first-half.

A quartet of Newcastle’s players were short of fitness, and it showed, though one of them – Hatem Ben Arfa – still tormented Spurs whenever he had the ball.

With just 45 minutes of pre-season football under his belt, the forward arguably shouldn’t have been on the pitch.

Yet whatever he lacked in fitness, he made up for in heart and guile.

Jake Livermore and Sandro followed Cheik Tiote – shown a yellow card for a wince-inducing early tackle on Kyle Walker – into referee Martin Aktinson’s book for challenges on Ben Arfa.

He found Demba Ba in the 22-year-old after a neat sidestep and run forward, but the striker’s shot was deflected narrowly wide with Brad Friedel helpless.

Otherwise, Friedel didn’t have a save to make.

And Tottenham were the better, more fluid, attacking team before the break, with Jermain Defoe and Gareth Bale hitting the woodwork.

Newcastle were better in the second half.

Spurs hadn’t taken advantage of their dominance, and United took heart from that during the interval.

Ten minutes into the half, Danny Simpson swung a deep diagonal cross towards goal, and Walker inadvertantly headed it to Ba at the far post.

Without a Premier League goal since February, Ba would have been forgiven for taking the easy option.

Typically, he did the exact opposite, bringing the ball down with one touch before directing a beautiful right-footed shot beyond Friedel and inside the far post with his second.

And Ba – who had been fasting for Ramadan – celebrated the Muslim religious festival of Eid yesterday buoyed by the end of a frustrating six-month goal drought.

Still. the game was far from over, despite Ba’s dramatic intervention.

The 1-0 lead proved anything but comfortable, and Pardew’s reaction to a throw-in decision from the linesman illustrated the tightness of the game.

Frustration got the better of him, and only time will tell just how costly his rush of blood will prove.

His players managed to keep their cool, even after Defoe’s equaliser, the striker prodding the ball home at the second attempt with 14 minutes left on the clock after his first effort, which took a deflection off Davide Santon, was turned on to the post by Tim Krul.

Remarkably, Ben Arfa was somehow still going strong, and as so often in the latter months of last season, he again proved to be Newcastle’s match-winner.

He was brought down by substitute Rafael van der Vaart in the 80th minute as he burst into the box.

Not content with that, Ben Arfa stepped up to take the penalty.

All in a day’s work.