Once more some of the old weaknesses in the Spurs team came back to
haunt them as they handed a point to Everton from 2-0 winning
score-line, with even a last minute penalty saved as we spurned the
chance of three points and to go back to third in the table.
As Goodison is one of the favourite grounds
Spurs have visited in the Premier League, it was perhaps not surprising
that they played some neat football to crate chances, but once Everton
started their customary rough-house tactics, the shine went off the
Tottenham game, as they became embroiled in a brawling, mauling game,
with eight bookings. Somehow the game ended 4-4 in this score,
with Rodwell staying on the pitch after getting away with a cynical
hauling down of Lennon after already having been booked.
Unfortunately, Mr. Marriner saw who the offender was and kept his car
din his pocket for once.
The only decent decision of the day he
did give, which upset the Everton fans, although I don't know why (well,
maybe I do, as they appealed for handball every time the ball hit a
Spurs player anywhere on the body), was when Hibbert bundled Palacios
over in the box in injury time.
Spurs started well, in what was initially
a surprisingly open match. When the luckily useless Jo broke into
the Spurs area in the first minute, Corluka got back to make a challenge
and almost put the ball past Heurelho Gomes, but luckily he sliced the
ball and the keeper picked it up without too much trouble.
Tottenham had a corner from a blocked Lennon effort and Dawson planted
his header too high. Marouane Fellaini was involved with setting
up a shooting opportunity for Jack Rodwell, but his effort lacked power
and then the Belgian struck a shot well wide. This was all in the
first five minutes !!
Despite looking just offside, Peter
Crouch was slipped through by Aaron Lennon only to shoot well over, when
a shot on target might have given Howard more than a bit of a problem.
And it was Lennon who was causing the most issues for the Everton
defence to deal with, as he put the ball one side of Baines and ran the
other to put a low cross along the six yard line with nobody there to
put the ball into the net, but Kranjcar was at the far post to knock the
ball back, but the same lack of presence allowed Yobo to kick the ball
Tottenham's confidence on the ball showed
when Tom Huddlestone played in Jermain Defoe on the D and could not beat
Howard, who blocked his low left foot drive with his legs. The
same pair linked up in the 19th minute and again, Howard denied Defoe,
whose shot lacked venom.
Things livened up a bit when Jack Rodwell
took Kranjcar late, even though he appeared to win the ball, but the ref
pulled out the yellow card, to spark a spate of rash challenges.
Benoit Assou-Ekotto had possibly his worst game of the season, with some
poor tackling and an incident that almost turned the game against
Tottenham, when he brought his boot down on Cahill's neck after the
Australian had gone through him with a tackle. Fellaini got
involved and got a yellow with Benny, then started a vendetta with Peter
Crouch which saw them exchange elbows to the head. Captain Michael
Dawson picked up a caution for a rash tackle on Cahill.
Back at the football, Jo, onside for a
change, managed to turn Bassong and put a shot across Gomes' goal and
just wide of the far post, while the Brazilian keeper gathered a Baines
free-kick well, but made it a good save for the cameras !! Defoe
tried to bag his own special Crouch v Doncaster type goal, when he took
Assou-Ekotto's cross with the back of his right foot, but it was always
going too high and just after the half hour, the little striker should
have had Spurs ahead, when Kranjcar and Hud opened up the Toffees
defence and Defoe slipped his shot just wide of the left hand post with
Howard on the floor. Dawson slid in to dispossess Jo, as it looked
like he might be through on goal, just before most of the shenanigans.
As half-time approached, Defoe had a
couple of chances and he seized on a short back-ass by Baines, but could
not lift the ball over the Everton keeper, who got a hand to it and then
in injury time, a zippy cross off the turf by Aaron Lennon bounced
just in front of the US goalie and he spilled the ball, but it was
fortunate for him that the ball dropped to an area where no Spurs player
It was perhaps not a surprise that Assou-Ekotto
did not appear for the second half, with him being a potential target
for the home side winding him up to get dismissed, so Gareth Bale came
on in his place. Everton kicked off, but gaining possession, Spurs
played the ball to Huddlestone and his dink over the top saw Hibbert
just do enough to put Defoe off his shot. A minute later, there
was no stopping Jermain though. When Lennon found space on the
right, his low shot to the near post found Defoe ahead of Lucas Neill
and he guided the ball past Howard with his left foot to give Tottenham
the lead two minutes after the break.
A neat little one-two a few minutes later
almost brought a second goal, with Defoe playing in Crouch and his
toe-poke was tipped aside by the keeper, although the referee failed to
see it (which fitted in with a bit of the rest of his performance during
the game). Good closing down by Lennon caused the ball to fall for
Defoe, who laid it into the path of Tom Huddlestone and he drove the
ball at goal, although it was blocked and Tom also picked up an injury
in kicking the defender's foot. Niko Kranjcar played the corner
over from the Tottenham right and Michael Dawson lost his marker Lucas
Neill to dive in and head low into the left hand bottom corner of the
net to make it 2-0. It was a brave header, but earned the skipper
his second goal in consecutive games.
At this stage, it looked like there would
only be one winner, but unlike the Wigan game, Spurs failed to ram home
their advantage and when Jo and Rodwell made way for Yakubu and Saha,
the attacking impetus changed in Everton's favour. Spurs could
have finished it off with Bale firing a 72nd minute 25 yard free-kick
narrowly wide of the right hand angle, then Crouch hit a weak shot
across Howard when one-on-one five minutes later that could have made it
As it was, the ball was worked out to the
Everton right in their next attack and Coleman went around Bale, who had
just been booked and probably feared getting sent off (having been sent
on for the worry that Assou-Ekotto might have got sent off). The
ball was clipped back to the near edge of the six yard box and Saha slid
in to volley past Gomes. This helped the game swing in Everton's
With 12 minutes left, Tottenham looked up
against it. Five minutes later, Pienaar put in a cross from the
left and Saha rose at the edge of the box to launch an overhead kick
that just missed Gomes' left hand post by inches. Then a couple of
minutes after, a scramble o the edge of the penalty area saw Palacios
swing a lazy leg at the ball that took it out of the box. It only
found Coleman in space on the right once more, leaving him the chance to
put a cross into the heart of the box, but this time there was nobody
there. However, it ran through to Baines on the left and he crashed a
shot-cum-cross into the goalmouth, where it bounced up off the turf and
found Cahill in the six yard box to head home as he dived forward.
A two goal lead had slipped away and
Tottenham still had to negotiate a couple of minutes and four minutes
added time to get anything out of the game, as Everton were going for
Fellaini put a free far post header over
the bar and as the home team tried to mount another attack, the ball
came to Lennon on the right. He put over a high, hanging cross to
Peter Crouch's head just to the left of the D and his header down was
into the path of the on-running Palacios, who got a head to the ball to
knock it forward, before Tony Hibbert crashed into him and knocked him
flying. For once, Marriner was well placed to see what was
happening and pointed to the spot. This was two minutes into
injury time and Jermain Defoe had to wait three minutes for Palacios to
be carried away on a stretcher, before he could place the ball for the
spot-kick. In between Louis Saha had taken advice form the Everton
bench and relayed the message to Howard before Defoe struck his penalty
right down the middle (and not very hard), allowing the goalie to block
the ball with his legs and the rebound went behind Defoe and was hacked
away by the grateful Everton defence.
So having had the game won once, Spurs
had the opportunity to win it all over again, but threw the chance to
move back into third place away. With Everton being near the
relegation zone at the moment, it would have been a good time to take
advantage of their injury hit squad, but they fought for the point and
Tottenham looked as though they thought they had done enough at 2-0.
If they learned anything from the Wigan
game, it should have been how to put teams away when you have the
chances. Having failed to do that, it only took an inspired goal
and a piece of opportunist luck to get Everton back into the match.
In the end, it might have looked a fair
result, but for Spurs, it could have been oh, so much more.