Tottenham's Roman Emperor: £14m man adds to the misery for
beleaguered Newcastle as holders go through

Confusion in the boardroom, disarray on the pitch and uncertainty surrounding the manager’s future, his tactics and team selection.

But enough about Tottenham Hotspur, what of Newcastle United?

Juande Ramos’s side put aside their League difficulties to start their Carling Cup defence with a lethal execution of dismal Newcastle last night in front of another paltry crowd - which counted Mike Ashley, Dennis Wise and Derek Llambias among its absentees.

Roman Pavlyuchenko

Tottenham's Roman Pavlyuchenko heads Spurs in front at Newcastle

Newcastle fell apart after a dismal first-half performance, gifting Roman Pavlyuchenko his first Tottenham goal since his £14million move to White Hart Lane, before a dreadful error by Steven Taylor gave Spurs a second and a comfortable passage into the fourth round.

Pavlyuchenko had looked lively all night, twice going close to breaking his duck before Aaron Lennon supplied a cross on to his forehead which he buried past Shay Given.

The Russian may have been fortunate to escape a booking after leading into a challenge with Fabricio Coloccini with his arm, but the troubled Argentina defender was nowhere to be seen as the Spurs No 9 leapt to open the scoring.

Four minutes later a routine pass from Coloccini was gathered by Steven Taylor outside the Newcastle area and there appeared no danger as Jamie O’Hara skipped round his heels.

But Taylor lost control of the ball and allowed O’Hara to steal it from him before he too buried his effort emphatically past Given.

It had taken Newcastle until the third minute of first-half stoppage time to muster a reaction from their fans - and that followed a glancing header by holding midfielder Cacapamfrom outside Heurelho Gomes’s area. The applause was brief but enthusiastic all the same.

The 32-year-old stretched his neck to reach Geremi’s speculative freekick after O’Hara’s untidy challenge on Nicky Butt had earned the Spurs youngster a yellow card.

While Cacapa’s ambitious effort had the Tottenham keeper at full stretch across his goalmouth, the ball drifted wide of the post Newcastle did finish the first half strongly, threatening the visitors’ goal with probing passes from inside their own half three times in the last four minutes, but Jonathan Woodgate and Ledley King were equal to the through-balls from Butt and Obafemi Martins.

Jamie O'Hara

Jamie O'Hara celebrates Tottenham's second goal at St James' Park

One delightful pass from Butt, which was aimed for Michael Owen, was also cut out
expertly by Vedran Corluka.

Not that the cutting edge was any better at the other end. The closest Spurs got to a first-half opener was another long-range header, this time from Pavlyuchenko which glanced the outside of Given’s post.

Woodgate also went close with a firm header from a Jermaine Jenas freekick.

But the best chance of the half fell to Lennon, who showed an all too brief moment of skill and delightful technique to turn inside Sebastian Bassong, only for his shot on the turn to fly past.

Thanks to injuries and the suspension to Joey Barton, Newcastle caretaker boss Chris Hughton was limited in the number of changes he could make to his beleaguered side, although he naturally welcomed back striker Martins.

The Nigeria international has been absent for a month with an ankle injury but returned to make his third appearance of the season last night as the lone striker, with Newcastle captain Owen and Damien Duff handed the roles behind him.

Hughton also took young defender David Edgar out of the firing line and restored former skipper Geremi to right back, handing summer signing Bassong his first start at left back.

The French full back’s only contribution to the first half was his involvement in Corluka’s yellow card after the former Manchester City player’s head-height challenge.

Bassong was fortunate to escape a booking himself after going head-to-head with the Croat.

Juande Ramos had made two changes to the side who drew 0-0 with Wigan, handing his captain King the role as Jonathan Woodgate’s central defensive partner, with Lennon returning as Darren Bent and David Bentley dropped to the bench, Pavlyuchenko the sole striker.

Newcastle’s strong finish to the first half at least encouraged them to make an equally bright start to the second and within three minutes, Duff almost gave them the lead.

The Republic of Ireland winger ran on to a Charles N’Zogbia pass and neatly clipped his shot past Gomes, but unfortunately for the home side Woodgate scrambled back to touch the ball behind.

Owen then scarpered past the two central defenders to meet Butt’s instinctive pass into the area and Gomes was fortunate to get his body in the way of the England striker’s low shot.

Not that the home side had it all their own way. Pavlyuchenko, still finding his feet after his transfer window move, had already gone close when Giovani do Santos’s cross
skimmed across the goalmouth.

The Russian landed on the ball allowing Geremi to boot the ball to safety.

Then came the double blast which saw off Newcastle - even though Owen added respectability to the score with an 89th-minute strike.

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