- Associated Press - Sunday, December 13, 2015

LONDON (AP) - Newcastle climbed out of the relegation zone on Sunday by inflicting Tottenham’s first Premier League loss since the opening day of the season, coming from behind to clinch a 2-1 victory in the third minute of stoppage time.

Ayoze Perez beat Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris at his near post as the full-time whistle loomed after fellow substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic had canceled out Eric Dier’s first-half headed opener for Tottenham.

“They have shown fantastic character on a platform of fantastic attitude, effort, work rate,” Newcastle manager Steve McClaren said. “Normally we crumble.”

December started with McClaren’s job appearing in jeopardy but he has now secured victories over Liverpool and Tottenham in the space of a week.

“The criticism has brought everyone closer together,” McClaren said. “You know at Newcastle you are only two days away from another crisis … we have not turned a corner.”



Newcastle is now even above defending champion Chelsea, which sank to 16th place ahead of its game at Leicester on Monday.

Tottenham remained fifth as it missed a chance to dislodge Manchester United from fourth place with the end of a 14-game unbeaten run in the league.

Though it was a dramatic conclusion, it was a largely subdued first half played out inside a quiet, chilly White Hart Lane.

The encounter only came alive in the last 10 minutes before halftime, with Tottenham on top.

Goalkeeper Rob Elliot was frustrating the hosts, though. Erik Lamela, who scored a hat trick in the Europa League on Thursday, had a shot tipped wide and another pushed over after forcing his way through a crowded penalty area.

But when Christian Eriksen floated in a corner in the 38th minute, Dier managed to plant a header past Elliot at full stretch for his third goal of the season.

“In the second half we made some mistakes,” Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino said.

Two of those came from Lloris, usually the most consistent cog in the Tottenham machine.

Chancel Mbemba’s low diving header was initially blocked by Lloris but Mitrovic seized on the loose ball on the goal-line and finished with the easiest of tap-ins.

Suddenly, Newcastle was displaying the energy and fight required for a relegation scrap. And the north-east side’s reward came in stoppage time with Mitrovic turning provider this time, heading over Jan Vertonghen into the path of Perez, who brought the ball down before beating Lloris.

“We have responded well,” McClaren said. “Let’s not waste it.”

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