FA BARCLAYS PREMIERSHIP
SATURDAY 1ST JANUARY, 2005
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR 5 (2) EVERTON 2 (1)
Marney, 16, 80
Referee:- Steve Dunn
Attendance:- 36, 102
Spurs (4-4-2):- Robinson; Pamarot, Naybet, King (Capt.), Edman; Marney, Carrick (sub Redknapp, 86), Mendes, Ziegler (sub Ricketts, 86); Kanoute, Keane
Subs not used:- Fulop; Davenport, Gardner
Everton (4-1-4-1):- Wright; Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Pistone (sub Naysmith, 69); Carsley; McFadden, Gravesen (Capt.), Cahill, Kilbane (sub Campbell, 69); Bent (sub Osman, 69)
Subs not used:- Turner; Chadwick
It was a sparkling New Year's Day for Spurs, as they beat Everton out of sight with a simply superb show, and a dazzling performance from Dean Marney, playing for the first time under Martin Jol, scoring not only his first, but also his second senior goals in the Lilywhite and Blue colours. Marney also gave Robbie Keane one of the easiest goals he will ever score, with a fantastic assist, where he literally left Everton's Italian left-back Alessandro Pistone sprawling with a marvellous piece of skill and a great low pass to the 6 yard area. Reto Ziegler and Pedro Mendes also scored their first senior goals in a game where Jol might have equalled the late, great Bill Nicholson's famous management debut against Everton in 1958, when Spurs won 10-4.
Other goals could easily have come from two superb chips from Robbie Keane, the first of which landed on top of the bar, and the second which bounced in front of goal, but was then taken wickedly just wide of the target. Erik Edman too deserved a first goal, drawing one of a couple of decent saves from Richard Wright, who by the end of the game must have felt truly battered and besieged.
Martin Jol is full of surprises, as Michael Brown and Jermain Defoe - arguably Spurs two best players throughout December - were left out of the squad. Brown would appear to have been rested in preparation for Tuesday's game at Old Trafford and a potential confrontation with Roy Keane. Defoe was listed as injured with "fluid on the knee", but I understand he will play on Tuesday. Nourrediine Naybet returned and was once again "Mr Cool" beside the ever efficient skipper Ledley King, and Mendes played beside Carrick in the centre of midfield in another new combination. Mendes had a great game, capped by that deserved goal, and Carrick was the more withdrawn of the two, but played one of his more effective defensive games. Both Ziegler and Marney gave the Everton defence kittens every time they went forward.
Everton were missing their skipper Alan Stubbs at the heart of defence, and Watson too was absent. Despite their weakened line-up, the answer to the question "Were Spurs that good, or were Everton poor?" is emphatically the former. This was the best I have seen Spurs play for years, and it's a long time since I arrived home on such a high.
Most Spurs fans were introduced to Marney in a friendly against DC United a couple of years ago, when he had a great game at right back, and was perceived as a potential replacement for Stephen Carr. Marney had rare opportunities for the first team, and his last game was at Old Trafford last year, when he had to assist Carr against Ryan Giggs. Apart from two substitute appearances at the start of last season, that was all we had seen of Deano, although Spurs Odyssey has been proud to follow his progress through the ranks over the last 4 years.
Marney had a game that he will remember as long as he lives. Every goal that Spurs scored was superbly crafted, and Marney was to the fore for three of the five. Yet, when the game was played out over the first quarter of an hour, it looked every bit like being a drab affair, perhaps to be settled by one goal. Spurs had several early plays in that period. The first was a great cross from that man Marney (21 later this month), which Kanoute could not get enough contact on. There was a good break out of defence by Edman sending Robbie Keane down the line, getting to the bye line, but crossing to Wright, replacing the number one keeper Nigel Martyn. Ziegler then chipped a clever ball towards Keane but the ball was closer to Wright than it was to the striker.
After 11 minutes, Everton finally had a bit of pressure. Carsley played behind a midfield 4 of McFadden, Gravesen, Cahill and Kilbane, with Cahill in chief supporting lone striker Marcus Bent. The Toffees had a succession of two corners and an attacking throw, ending with a McFadden shot going way over from outside the area. Suddenly Spurs took the lead. Mendes sent a clever ball down the middle which Keane headed onwards and Marney sneaked in between the defence and the keeper to beat the advancing Wright and hit a cool lobbed finish out of Wright's reach to the far post. The delighted Marney ran to the Spurs crowd in the lower South Stand to celebrate with gusto!
After 23 minutes, Everton caused a little panic, as Kilbane and McFadden combined to feed Hibbert, whose low cross was in no-man's land in front of goal, and cleared for a corner by Naybet. Within minutes, Spurs were two up, as Edman's throw from the left was headed on by Kanoute and finished with aplomb by Ziegler. Reto gave the ball one touch before hitting an unstoppable left foot shot across the keeper. Three minutes later, Keane collected Mendes long ball, and chipped Wright, only to see the ball land on top of the bar and bounce clear.
Just as we were worrying about possibly going 3-0 up at half time (not a good record for Spurs!), Bent got ahead of Ledley from a throw, and Carsley hit a despairing header wide from the cross. Minutes later, Everton had a goal back from a long clearance by Wright. Bent was allowed two headed touches before teeing up Cahill squeezing between two defenders to beat Robinson with a low shot to the far corner of the goal.
Everton came out after the break with some purpose, and had a couple of half chances, the best of which fell to Kilbane from a cross on the right. Robinson was equal to his efforts. Edman's chance came after 53 minutes, when he exchanged a pass with Ziegler after a throw, then bore down on goal, hitting a great low curling shot across Wright. The keeper just got enough on the ball to force a corner, but it would have been a great goal for Erik!
Spurs now started to play as if they could score at will. Kanoute was all over Yobo, and it seems churlish to complain but referee Steve Dunn turned down quite a few good shouts for free kicks or even penalties against Keane and Kanoute. The two-goal lead was restored as the hour approached, through an attack on the break. Marney had put a low ball in, and Kanoute set up Mendes outside the box, who made a little space and sent a crashing right foot drive to Wright's right.
Marney's next starring moment was to set up Keane's 68th minute goal. Kanoute had fed Marney the ball, and Pistone was left stranded by a cheeky piece of play as he was rounded by Marney, sending that low ball past Wright for Keane's easy finish. Keane did his cartwheel, but the plaudits were reserved for Marney.
David Moyles tried a triple substitution, but it didn't stop the deluge from Spurs. Now Ziegler left Hibbert behind, selling a lovely dummy, hitting a good shot after he cut in from the wing, which Wright did save with credibility. Wright did well three minutes later, saving from Kanoute after a 1-2 with Keane. Spurs were now show-boating. Kanoute was awarded a free kick just outside the area, which looked like a penalty to me. After the kick, Fredi played some tricks on the right, and set up Ledley King, who had one effort blocked for a corner, then a header just over from Ziegler's kick.
The coup de grace was provided by Marney, playing like a seasoned pro, as he collected from Carrick and advanced from the half-way line. He picked his spot from fully 25 yards, hitting a shot around Yobo, into the top left hand corner beyond the beaten keeper. It was a fantastic moment, and the crowd were willing to give Marney the freedom of Tottenham!
Robinson was down to a Hibbert long range effort before Robbie Keane nearly scored what would have been another sublime goal. Carrick again had been the provider and Keane chipped Wright, with the ball bouncing in front of the target but then drifting wide. Everton got a consolation goal three minutes from time, as McFadden drilled Cahill's pass from the left side of the area across Robinson.
It's a long time since I have seen so many smiles so broad from Spurs fans leaving the ground today. When we scored 5 against Southampton, we all knew we were facing a poor side that day. Today we have thrashed a top four side, who I think we shall overtake in the coming weeks. Suddenly Spurs have a squad which can be rotated, without threatening performance. Spurs have a great team spirit on and off the pitch. This is engendering confidence, and the players are feeling more able to express themselves on the field. We travel to Old Trafford in great spirits and I have hope of at least remaining unbeaten for an 8th Premiership game.
Thank you Spurs for making it a great start to the year!
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