ENGLAND’S cricketers do not have a monopoly on sporting surprises. A couple of hours after Ben Stokes held his bat aloft at Headingley, Newcastle United’s players were celebrating an equally unlikely triumph at White Hart Lane. Tottenham supporters would have travelled to their sparkling new stadium expecting their side to rack up a cricket score; instead, despite enjoying a remarkable 80 per cent of possession, their team was left stumped.

Shambolic at Norwich City eight days earlier, Newcastle’s defenders were sensational as they repelled everything last season’s Champions League finalists threw at them. Each and every member of the back five deserves huge credit for their efforts, not to mention match-winning goalscorer Joelinton and the irrepressible Miguel Almiron, who ran themselves into the ground as they defended from the front, but this was also a huge personal success for Steve Bruce.

This has been a tortuous fortnight for Bruce, accused variously of being a managerial dinosaur, a tactical novice and an imposter incapable of even organising a warm-up. Well this was some riposte, a masterclass of organisation as good as anything produced by a Newcastle manager for quite some time. Whisper it, but even his predecessor, Rafael Benitez, would have been proud to put his name to such a performance.

The Magpies defended manfully throughout, shrugging off the loss of both Joelinton and Jamaal Lascelles to injury to record a cherished clean sheet. Lascelles was fantastic, organising his team-mates from the heart of the back five and rendering Harry Kane completely impotent. You could have singled out any member of the defence for special praise though, such was their resolve and concentration. Paul Dummett won everything in the air, Fabian Schar shackled Heung-Min Son and both Emil Krafth and Matt Ritchie closed down their opponents with relish to prevent balls being hurled into the box.

In front of them, Joelinton produced easily his best performance in a Newcastle shirt, chasing lost causes from the very first minute to prevent Tottenham’s defenders from being able to stride upfield to spark attacks.

The Brazilian settled things with his first Premier League goal, stroking home Christian Atsu’s first-half cross, but his game was about much more than finding the net. Just as Salomon Rondon had led the line expertly last season, so Joelinton proved he could be a figurehead as well as a finisher. Bruce had been encouraged to drop the Brazilian after he struggled against Norwich last weekend, but his faith was rewarded. Newcastle have a new number nine worthy of the shirt.

Not all of Bruce’s selection decisions paid off. The Newcastle boss handed a first Premier League start to summer signing Allan Saint-Maximin, no doubt hoping the Frenchman’s pace would enable his side to stretch the game on the counter-attack.

Saint-Maximin missed last weekend’s defeat at Norwich with a hamstring injury, and had not been able to take part in a full week of training ahead of the trip to North London. Sure enough, just a quarter-of-an-hour into his first Premier League start, and the winger was rubbing his hamstring with a resigned expression after stretching to try to reach a quick free-kick from Ritchie. Two minutes later, and he was hobbling off the field as Bruce shook his head.

That proved a rare setback though, and rather than diminishing Newcastle’s attacking threat, the replacement of the unpredictable Saint-Maximin with the rather more reliable Christian Atsu actually enhanced the Magpies’ performance in the final third. Just ten minutes after coming off the bench, Atsu was setting up the winning goal.

Newcastle’s players spent the vast majority of the opening half-hour camped in their own half, but they served notice of their counter-attacking capabilities four minutes before they broke the deadlock when Joelinton shuffled the ball infield to the breaking Sean Longstaff. Restored to the starting line-up after his demotion at Carrow Road, Longstaff fired in a fine rising effort that Hugo Lloris tipped over the crossbar.

Despite Tottenham’s complete dominance of the early possession, that was the best chance of the game at that stage, but the visitors were not finished.

Having spotted Davinson Sanchez badly out of position close to the edge of the 18-yard box, Atsu floated a perfectly-weighted cross over the centre-half’s head and into the path of Joelinton.

Newcastle’s record signing had not looked a natural finisher in his opening two Premier League outings, but displaying the kind of composure you would hope for in a £40m centre-forward, he controlled the ball neatly before sweeping a low finish past Lloris’ right hand.

The goal shocked Tottenham’s gleaming new stadium into silence, save for the manic celebrations of the black-and-white enclave in the corner, and while the hosts increased their energy levels in an attempt to restore parity, there was a raggedness to their attacking that played into Newcastle’s hands.

Martin Dubravka parried an acrobatic back-post volley from Son and Dummett produced an excellent defensive header to prevent Lucas Moura reaching Erik Lamela’s cross, but despite playing with what was effectively a front four, Spurs struggled to create anything meaningful in the 18-yard box.

Newcastle’s defenders deserve great credit for that, with Dummett outstanding as he shut down the dangerous Moura and Lascelles holding his position at the heart of the back five impressively as he refused to stray from Kane.

With Krafth and Ritchie focusing their wing-back efforts on defending rather than looking to push forward, the Newcastle backline was completely unrecognisable from the disorganised rabble that had been repeatedly pulled apart at Norwich.

Kane did not have a shot on target all game, such was the lack of incision from the home side, and it was no surprise to see Mauricio Pochettino turn to Christian Eriksen as well as summer signing Giovani Lo Celso just after the hour mark. If ever a game illustrated why Spurs cannot afford to lose Eriksen before the various international transfer windows close at the start of next month, this was surely it.

With the Dane on the pitch, Spurs finally boasted a player able to thread intricate through balls through Newcastle’s packed defence, but the visitors’ orange wall continued to hold firm.

Lo Celso dragged a shot wide, and with the pressure threatening to become all-consuming, the Magpies had to survive a nervous VAR call with 12 minutes left.

Lascelles stumbled to the floor as he tracked Kane’s attempts to reach Lo Celso’s through ball, and as he fell, he brought the England skipper tumbling to the ground with him. Mike Dean waved away the initial appeals, and while VAR checked the incident, it was not deemed a clear and obvious error. Hence, to Spurs’ frustration, the on-field decision stood.

Lascelles’ tumble ended his afternoon, and while Newcastle were waiting to bring on Federico Fernandez in place of their skipper, their opponents fashioned their best chance of the game. Moussa Sissoko, barracked incessantly by the visiting supporters, crossed from the right, and from an unmarked position ten yards out, Moura fired a half-volley over. It was to be the Magpies’ final scare.