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Surging Newcastle to Spurs falter in top 4 race


Newcastle s pursuit of Champions League qualification was boosted after a fifth successive win on Monday and by Tottenham s surprise home loss that loosens its hold on fourth place. Newcastle striker Papiss Cisse s 10th goal in nine appearances since joining the club rounded off a 2-0 victory over Bolton after Hatem Ben Arfa had scored the opener. The win lifted the Magpies to fifth place, behind Tottenham on goal difference after the London club lost 2-1 to Norwich. Anthony Pilkington and Elliott Bennett scored for Norwich, which rose to ninth. Chelsea can go above Tottenham and Newcastle and into the fourth Champions League place with a victory at Fulham on Monday night. Third place, though, had appeared to have been sealed by Spurs until their collapse to throw away a 10-point advantage over Arsenal, which now has a two-point cushion in third with a game in hand. In-form Newcastle is now firmly in the mix for fourth place and is one of the league s surprise outfits this season. The northeast club went in front in the 73rd minute through a fine solo goal from Ben Arfa, who dribbled through the defense before dispatching the ball into the net. Cisse tapped in Newcastle s second in the 83rd after latching onto Shola Ameobi s cross. The result leaves Bolton in 16th place and still in a relegation fight, sitting only one point above 19th-place Wigan. At White Hart Lane, Spurs had little hope of overcoming Norwich when its defense was so disorganized, and it was a mishap in the 13th minute that gifted the visitors the opener. Aaron Wilbraham s shot was blocked by Younes Kaboul but Kyle Walker fluffed his attempt to clear the danger, the ball ricocheting off Tottenham defender Ledley King and Pilkington pounced to fire past goalkeeper Brad Friedel. Norwich could have been further ahead after failing to receive a penalty despite Spurs defender Ledley King appearing to push Grant Holt off the ball. Norwich manager Paul Lambert was furious and his rage was only incensed by the hosts launching a counterattack to equalize, Jermain Defoe racing onto Jake Livermore s pass and lifting the ball over advancing goalkeeper John Ruddy. Norwich was denied another penalty on the hour when Emmanuel Adebayor s push on Wilbraham went unpunished. But the visitors were rewarded through an impressive winner from Bennett, who was lashed the ball into the net from outside the penalty area in the 66th. “We had a bad day,” Redknapp said. “We were a bit flat. I thought their front two, especially Grant Holt, bullied us a bit. It is all still to play for though.” At Goodison Park, Everton strengthened its hold on seventh place with a 4-0 victory over Sunderland.  Winger Magaye Gueye opened the scoring in the 52nd minute, Steven Pienaar doubled the host’s  advantage in the 75th. Leon Osman added the third a minute later, and Victor Anichebe rounded out the scoring for a rampant Everton side that now goes into Saturday s FA Cup semifinal against Liverpool on a high.