Nacer Chadli opened the scoring on 30 minutes with a long range strike before Jack Colback equalised just 19 seconds into the second half.
That should have provided a springboard for the hosts to kick on but their momentum was halted just seven minutes later by a Christian Eriksen free-kick. Harry Kane netted a late third – his 30th goal of the season.
A fan boycott inside the stadium from the home fans against Newcastle chairman Mike Ashley never really materialised, although the attendance of 47,427 was the club’s lowest of the season, but there were protests pre-match with anti-Ashley banners being held aloft by frustrated Toon fans, who also booed their team off at full-time.
It was a thoroughly depressing afternoon for the locals, who also had to endure a cheeky taunt from Sunderland fans after a plane with a banner reading ‘five in a row’ was flown over St James’ Park midway through the first-half.
The victory lifts Spurs back up to sixth in the table but they are still seven points behind Manchester City, who occupy the final Champions League spot.
The main excitement in the opening stages happened in the skies with the Sunderland banner but that changed thanks to Chadli’s opener on 35 minutes.
The attacking midfielder emerged from a scrappy period in the centre of the pitch before letting fly with a shot from 25 yards that evaded the clutches of Tim Krul in the Newcastle goal.
John Carver made two substitutions at the break to freshen his side up and much like in the corresponding fixture at White Hart Lane when Sami Ameobi scored inside eight seconds of the restart, Spurs fell asleep again.
Daryl Janmaat was the instigator of the move, robbing Chadli of possession by the touchline before finding Ayoze Pérez in the box. The striker shifted the ball back to Janmaat who had continued his run into the box and although his shot was blocked, Colback was hand to slam the ball home with just 19 seconds played in the second period.
The good feeling around St James’ Park lasted just seven minutes as Eriksen struck.
He sent in a wicked delivery from the left flank that caused confusion in the Newcastle defence as Kane and the excellent Nabil Bentaleb attacked the ball and diverted the attention of Krul.
Neither Kane nor Bentaleb got a touch and although Krul got a hand to Eriksen’s whipped in delivery, he couldn’t stop the ball from nestling in the net.
Kane had gone two games without a goal and his drought looked like continuing when he was denied by Krul on 66 minutes – one of a few missed chances – after being found by another brilliant Eriksen set-piece.
However, the England man would get his name on the scoresheet in the closing stages when he latched onto a Erik Lamela through ball and coolly slotted into the bottom corner.
Newcastle: Krul (5); Janmaat (7), Coloccini (6), Williamson (6), Anita (6); Abeid (6), R.Taylor (6), Colback (6); Gouffran (5), Perez (6), Cabella (7).
Subs: Ameobi (6), Armstrong (6), Obertan (6)
Tottenham: Vorm (7), Dier (7), Fazio (7), Vertonghen (8), Rose (7); Bentaleb (8), Paulinho (8), Chadli (7), Eriksen (7), Lamela (7); Kane (7).
Subs: Dembele (6), Mason (6).
Man of the Match: Paulinho