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Tiote volley completes incredible Magpies recovery

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05 Feb 2011 17:15:15

Tiote volley completes incredible Magpies recovery

St James' Park was the scene of one of the Premier League's most incredible comebacks this afternoon as Newcastle United bounced back from four goals down to claim an incredible point against title contenders Arsenal.Arsenal, who started the day five points adrift of leaders Manchester United, humiliated their North-East counterparts in the first half when they cruised in to a four-goal lead that led to angry fans venting their frustration. But then French midfielder Abou Diaby was unable to control himself after the restart and he was red carded for pushing both Joey Barton and Kevin Nolan to the floor. That gave Newcastle who had been behind to goals from Theo Walcott, Johan Djourou and a double from Robin van Persie the lift to drive for the most sensatiional of recoveries. After Leon Best had found the net in between two Barton penalties, the stage was set for the Magpies to push in search of a late equaliser. And, courtesy of a sensational left foot 20-yard volley from Cheik Tiote, the dramatic equaliser arrived with two minutes remaining and suddenly the departure of £35m man Andy Carroll had temporarily been erased from the memory bank. Arsenal were three up inside ten minutes. Two of those arrived inside the first 170 seconds on a Saturday afternoon to forget for the men wearing black and white. The first was extremely well worked and provided an indication of what was to follow. When Diaby played the ball in to Andrey Arshavin's feet, the excellent Russian's first time pass tore through the heart of Newcastle's defence. Walcott, whose burst of speed got him ahead of Fabricio Coloccini, then stylishly slotted low in to goalkeeper Steve Harper's bottom right to put Arsenal ahead with just 42 seconds on the digital clock in the corner. And when it stated two minutes and 50 seconds, Arsenal made it two. This time Arshavin's free-kick from the left flank was left for the charging figure of Djourou to head over the line. Defensively, with Argentine Coloccini made to look as bad as the three defenders alongside him, Newcastle were horrendous and they had conceded a third less than eight minutes later. Walcott found space down the right before he rolled towards the six yard box and van Persie did not need a second invitation to turn beyond Harper to put Arsenal three up. The rampant Gunners added a fourth in the 26th minute. This time Bacary Sagna was the man to pop up on the right touchline. With Williamson showing no desire to move from his position, van Persie ran across his marker and headed the France full-back's precise centre through Harper's hands. After the restart Diaby's stupidity helped to ensure that Newcastle did not suffer further embarrassment and when Best was barged to the floor by defender Laurent Koscielny inside the area, Newcastle had lift off. Referee Phil Dowd awarded a penalty and Barton drilled his spot-kick to the right of Szczesny, which gave Newcastle the encouragement to enjoy a late rally. When Best was on hand to turn Jose Enrique's cross over the line at the second time of asking with quarter of an hour remaining, the St James' Park crowd started to think about the seemingly impossible. And then the stage was set for the most unlikely comeback when Barton powered in a second penalty when Koscielny was harshly deemed to have pulled down Williamson near the line. There was still six minutes remaining and, somehow, the leveller arrived. A free-kick was cleared to the edge of the area and Tiote volleyed perfectly in to the bottom left. Rarely can Tyneside have seen scenes like that which arrived after earning a point and even then Kevin Nolan's late drive could have actually won it.


Northern_Echo

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