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Spurs v Everton, 07.04.13

BARCLAYS PREMIER LEAGUE
SUNDAY 7TH APRIL, 2013
(2.05 PM)
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 2 (1) EVERTON 2 (1)

Spurs scorers:-
Adebayor, 1
Sigurdsson, 87

Everton scorers:-
Jagielka, 15
Mirallas, 53

Attendance:- 36, 192

Referee:- Andre Marriner
Assistants:- Mr. D. Bryan & Ms. S. Massey
Fourth official:- Mr. J. Moss

Teams:-
Spurs (4-1-4-1):- Lloris; Walker, Dawson (Capt.), Caulker, Vertonghen; Parker (sub Carroll, 89); Dempsey, Dembele (sub Huddlestone, 75), Holtby, Sigurdsson; Adebayor

Subs not used:- Friedel; Naughton, Assou-Ekotto; Livermore, Ceballos (number 44)

Booked:- Dempsey (simulation - outside box)

Everton:- (4-2-3-1):- Howard; Coleman, Jagielka (Capt.), Distin, Baines; Gibson, Heitinga; Barkley(sub Jelavic, 52), Osman, Mirallas (sub Naismith, 86); Anichebe

Subs not used:- Mucha; Stones, Duffy, Oviedo, Hitzlsperger

Booked:- Mirallas ( foul on Parker)

Through the emotional wringer

I've been taken through the emotional wringer for more than one reason today, but I am here to write to you about one of those reasons, which is of course our beloved Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.

In the end, in a competitive and hard fought game, missing key personnel such as Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon, Spurs fought valiantly to win a point off visitors Everton. They got such a good start with an Adebayor goal scored after just 35 seconds,but then fell 2-1 behind, with 37 minutes of the second half remaining. Gylfi Sigurdsson scored a late equaliser, and Spurs just about hold a top four place at the end of the week-end, but before they play league football again, they could be seven points behind Arsenal, who are suddenly winning consecutive games for fun in the run-in and the challenge for Champions League football.

The quest for "the promised land" is not over, of course, but a win was oh so desirable today, if not absolutely vital. Everton will not be over-pleased about a return of one point from this game, which leaves them 6 points behind Spurs in a game they too really needed to win.

What didn't help today was the fact that so many officials' decisions seemed to go against us. I can't speak with authority about a penalty appeal which upset the Spurs fans at the Park Lane End in the first half, but I did clearly see corner, throw-in and handball decisions either go against us, or simply not given at our end. I used to rate assistant referee Sian Massey so highly too. One handball took place literally in front of her, and a Tom Huddlestone attempted pass took such an obvious clip from an Everton defender that the throw-in decision for the "Blues" was all the more frustrating.

Initially, Spurs lined up with Adebayor up front and Dempsey behind him, but it wasn't long before Dempsey moved to the right flank, with Dembele inside him, and Holtby playing at his favoured inside-left position, perhaps for the first time since he arrived at White Hart Lane. Gylfi Sigurdsson worked for the left throughout, with Scott Parker behind that midfield four, but also getting forward.

AVB definitely does not like Assou-Ekotto, and Jan Vertonghen got the left back slot. Kyle Walker made a welcome return, and became more and more prominent in the second half. In my preview, I had pled the case for wing-backs, but this was not to be.

Everton played a 4-2-3-1, with Anichebe preferred to Jelavic up front.

Spurs took an incredibly early lead, following a Vertonghen cross from the left which beat the defence, and gave Adebayor a close range finish for his second goal in two games. For all the stick given to Adebayor this season, I thought he played really well throughout, with excellent work-rate, ball retention, and passing.

Spurs couldn't build upon their excellent start, and Everton threatened before they equalised after 15 minutes. They got a corner, taken by Baines, and headed home by Jagielka. I'm sure the ball hit the floor before beating Lloris and the corner should have been defended better.

Sad to say, there were too many times over the course of the game when Spurs failed to defend well, even when 2 against 1 when it came to manpower. Skipper Michael Dawson was party to such incidents, when I expect better of Premier League defenders. I am not talking about goal-scoring chances being conceded, but simple things like passing and clearing, rather than conceding throw-ins and possession.

Chances were few and far between in the first half really. Dembele tried a left foot shot after 17minutes, which went well wide of the target. Walker advanced and passed back to Holtby who crossed just too high for Adebayor, who was being marked well by Jagielka.

Spurs had been playing some good approach football on the left and the right, before the move ended with an attempt from the right by Holtby going well over. Parker fed a good ball to Walker towards the right of the area, but he too fired off target. Sigurdsson had a good right foot effort from the left of the box, but it was held by Howard.

After the break, Gibson had a good effort for Everton from the right, but fired wide across the goal, with Lloris struggling.

David Moyes replaced Barkley with Jelavic and adopted a more attacking approach. The move paid off, but not with the personnel involved in the change. Mirallas made an advance through Spurs territory down the right and scored with a low shot to the far corner.

Dembele hit a great right footed shot that took a deflection, with Howard getting a slight touch to put the ball onto the bar. The Everton defence beat Spurs to the rebound.

A Dempsey effort from 30 yards dipped, but was easily held by Tim Howard. Parker fed the ball to Dempsey, who tried a shot from the left side, but hit it wide. Adebayor teed up Kyle Walker for a long range effort that Howard was happy to punch clear. Parker got through the defence and might have had a shot,but he tried a pass,which failed inside the Everton area.

After 66 minutes, Adebayor made a goalward run with the ball, and the opportunity to shoot opened up. He hit a shot on target, but Howard held it. Sigurdsson passed to Dempsey for the left, but the American striker hit a left foot shot wide.

Dembele was replaced by Huddlestone. Plenty in the crowd would rather have seen Dempsey off, but no doubt Dembele was tiring. I thought Huddlestone had an excellent quarter-hour, pinging passes accurately, and finding the pace of the game too. Those who know my doubts about Tom out should know I cheered his every touch heartily.

Referee Andre Marriner finally found his yellow cards and showed one to Mirallas who brought a Scott Parker run to an abrupt and unfair halt on the left of the box. Nothing came of the free kick, but soon after, Dempsey didn't argue about a yellow he was shown for diving outside the Everton area.

With three minutes of normal time left, Spurs got a deserved equaliser. It followed excellent work by Walker on the right, where he had been most active. Kyle got past Baines, and when he crossed there were about 5 white shirts in the box. Adebayor latched onto the pass, shot and saw his effort rebound off the post. Sigurdsson swept the rebound home to tee up a frantic finish, with the crowd's support reaching new heights.

Tom Carroll made a late entrance, but the best chance fell to Anichebe, who got the better of Dawson, who was grateful to Lloris for collecting the resulting shot.

With Everton remaining 6 points behind, I would say the result assures us of a top five place. But of course, if we fail once again to secure Champions League football, there are going to be a lot of angry Spurs fans around. Some of us might feel we need longer than two days after the last game of the season to decide whether or not we want to renew our season tickets. After all, the reason we are in this situation is because once again, the Chairman chose not to to invest in at least one more striker, when he had the opportunity. Will that sort of situation ever improve for we Tottenham fans?

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