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Pardew could face ban for push on official
06:23 AEST Mon Aug 20 2012

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew faces an anxious wait to discover the extent of his punishment for pushing referee's assistant Stuart Burt during his side's 2-1 win over Tottenham.

Pardew lashed out on Sunday when he believed Spurs defender Benoit Assou-Ekotto had dragged the ball over the touchline, and was immediately sent to the stands by referee Martin Atkinson.

Pardew was full of contrition afterwards, describing his actions as "stupid" and "inexcusable", and revealing he had immediately sought out Burt and Atkinson after the final whistle to apologise.

However that is unlikely to spare Pardew further sanction, with the Football Association - who said they would not comment on the incident until they receive Atkinson's report on Monday - keen to clamp down at the start of the season.

The precedent for pushing an official was set by Paolo Di Canio in 1998, when his push on Paul Alcock earned him an 11-game ban. Pardew's relatively light shove is unlikely to earn him such a lengthy punishment.

Pardew said: "It was ridiculous and I apologised publicly. He was right in front of me and I thought the ball was out and I shoved him. I went to see him and told him it was stupid and I don't know what I was thinking."

Pardew's day ended on a high with Hatem Ben Arfa's 80th-minute penalty bringing the Magpies three points after Jermain Defoe had cancelled out Demba Ba's delicious opener just four minutes earlier.

And an encouraging start for Pardew's men - with Ba curling his first goal since February - was heightened by a lively performance from new boy Vurnon Anita following his arrival as a second-half substitute.

Pardew said: "Vurnon has impressed the players in training and, while I felt his first couple of touches were a bit indifferent, he has been at Ajax a long time and it was going to be tough.

"It's tough to come in to a game like this with a completely different atmosphere, but I felt Vurnon really grew as the game went on. He showed a great bit of skill and he is going to be a big player for us."

Despite having started the season with a sending-off, Pardew's mood was much brighter than his opposite number, Andre Villas-Boas.

Spurs largely shaded the first period and twice hit the woodwork, Defoe striking the base of Tim Krul's right-hand post in the 33rd minute and Gareth Bale heading a Neil Lennon cross against the bar.

Debutant Gylfi Sigurdsson was at the heart of most of the visitors' attacking moves but Newcastle snatched the lead against the run of play in the 55th minute with a superb finish from Ba.

Danny Simpson delivered a high ball into the box from the right and it was only half cleared by Kyle Walker into the path of Ba, who curled a superb shot into the net from the corner of the box.

Defoe forced a fine save out of Krul before equalising on 76 minutes, bundling home at the second attempt from close range, but parity lasted just four minutes before Rafael van der Vaart tripped Ben Arfa in the box.

The Frenchman picked himself up to send Brad Friedel the wrong way and seal the points for the Magpies, and Jonas Gutierrez came close to extending the margin of victory in the dying seconds.

Villas-Boas will now spend the week trying to bring in another striker and completing Luka Modric's move to Real Madrid - although he insisted new faces were not dependent on Modric's departure.

With consecutive home games against West Brom and Norwich coming up, Villas-Boas believes he saw enough on Sunday to suggest his side will soon get their season back on track.

Villas-Boas said: "We are continuing to look at strengthening our squad and we have two home games coming up so we need to focus on taking six points which is going to be very important.

"We need to switch our focus in those two games and also do better in the market in our search for one more striker. But the players have been tremendous in their effort and I can take some positives out of it."


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