Football: Harry Kane strikes as Tottenham Hotspur beat Newcastle, eye Europe

NEWCASTLE (AFP) - Harry Kane made it 20 goals for the Premier League season as he capped a 3-1 win for Tottenham Hotspur away to Newcastle United on Sunday that kept the London club in the hunt for European football.

Newcastle, still not safe from the threat of relegation, had to contend with their lowest Premier League crowd of the season as a result of a planned protest against owner Mike Ashley and those home fans who did turn up witnessed the club's sixth straight league defeat.

The Magpies threatened to stop the rot when Jack Colback cancelled out Nacer Chadli's 30th-minute opener just after half-time.

But Danish playmaker Christian Eriksen curled in a free-kick seven minutes later before Kane completed the win in stoppage-time to lift Tottenham back up to sixth and level on points with fifth-placed Liverpool.

Newcastle, on the other hand, are now just seven points above the drop zone and have played an extra game more than three of the teams below them including north-east rivals Sunderland.

There was a surreal atmosphere inside St James' Park, with, unusually, visiting fans the noisiest given the large numbers of empty seats dotted around the ground.

More than 20,000 leaflets had been printed and distributed among Newcastle supporters calling for a boycott of the fixture and, as well as those that stayed away, it did make for a more subdued atmosphere.

But after a bright start from Tottenham, Newcastle created the game's first real chance.

Spanish striker Ayoze Perez forced a near post save from goalkeeper Michel Vorm following French forward Yoan Gouffran's low cross from the right.

Mike Williamson also went close for Newcastle when he headed over Ryan Taylor's free-kick from the same flank and a failure to take advantage proved costly.

Tottenham had looked dangerous when they moved forward at pace and when Gouffran dawdled in his own half in possession, the yellow shirts quickly swarmed him and that led to the opening goal.

Chadli, making the most of the freedom he was afforded, darted at the Newcastle defence, rolled the ball on to his left foot and picked out the bottom right corner of Tim Krul's net with a crisp finish from 25 yards.

That was the first goal a Tottenham player had scored away from his club's White Hart Lane ground in 232 minutes.

Newcastle, particularly winger Remy Cabella, looked to push forward even though Krul still had to deny England striker Kane shortly before half-time.

That proved a particularly important stop in view of what happened after the restart.

Newcastle coach John Carver made a double substitution and Sammy Ameobi - brought on along with Gabriel Obertan - had an immediate impact by creating the equaliser inside 20 seconds.

Ameobi charged into the box and squared towards the penalty spot, where Daryl Janmaat's initial shot was blocked and fell invitingly for Colback to side-foot powerfully beyond Vorm's diving right hand.

Tottenham though took just seven minutes to reclaim the lead. Colback brought down Eriksen near the touchline and the Dane's inswinging free-kick appeared to evade team-mate Nabil Bentaleb's head and then bounced beyond Krul.

After that the Dutchman made several good saves to keep Newcastle in the game.

The best was when he somehow stopped Kane's close-range volley from crossing the line seconds before he also rushed out to stop Erik Lamela from scoring.

But Tottenham did eventually kill the game off in stoppage-time courtesy of a counter-attack that left Kane with the simple task of side-footing in his 20th league goal of the season to leave him joint top of the English top-flight's goal-scoring table with Manchester City's Sergio Aguero.