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Match Reports
Spurs v Everton, 15.10.05


Mido, 57
Jenas, 63

Referee: - Dermot Gallagher

Attendance: - 36, 267

Spurs (4-4-2):- Robinson; Stalteri, Dawson, King (Capt.), Lee; Lennon (sub Reid, 71), Jenas, Carrick, Davids; Defoe (sub Keane, 78), Mido

Subs not used: - Cerny; Naybet, Kelly

No bookings

Everton (4-5-1):- Martyn; Ferrari (sub Ferguson, 64), Yobo, Weir (Capt.), Valente; Davies, Neville, Cahill (sub Beattie, 75), Kilbane, McFadden (sub Osman, 81); Bent

Subs not used:- Wright; Kroldrup

Booked: - Cahill, McFadden

On a hot (yes – hot!) mid-October’s day, Everton’s five-man midfield held out for nearly an hour against what could arguably be called Spurs first choice team, before two headed goals by Mido and Jermaine Jenas ensured the Toffees would be sent back to Merseyside with their tails firmly between their legs and their team still entrenched at the foot of the Premiership table. Spurs on the other hand have had their best start for fifteen years and sit proudly second in the table after nine games, behind only Champions elect, Chelsea (who won their ninth consecutive game).

Headed goals for Spurs are something of a rarity. By my reckoning we haven’t had one since beating Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup replay at The City Ground in March this year. Like London buses, you wait and wait, then two come along in no time at all!

With Wayne Routledge a long-term absentee for Spurs, and Aaron Lennon on the top of his form, Martin Jol surely needed little thought over his choice today, leaving Cerny, Naybet, Kelly, Reid and Keane on the bench. That left the likes of Mendes, Tainio, Rasiak, Davis and Brown out of the picture completely with further first team squad players injured or in reserve, or on loan. David Moyes, managing injury-struck Everton, must have been green with envy at the talent at Martin Jol’s disposal. It certainly looks a grim task for Moyes as he faces Chelsea next week, and Birmingham away before the end of the month, which will surely leave the Blues at the bottom.

Despite his injury list, Moyes could still field a side full of talent, most of which played a part in Everton’s march to a Champions’ League place last season. Predictably, he opted for a 5-man midfield, with ex-Spurs Simon Davies on the right, Philip Neville in front of the defence, and Cahill, Kilbane and McFadden occasionally supporting the lone front man Marcus Bent – scorer of Everton’s solitary league goal in their 8 games to date. Skipper David Weir passed his fitness test, but it seems to me that Everton are missing the leadership and skill of Alan Stubbs who left for Sunderland in the summer.

Spurs lined up with Davids nominally on the left of midfield, but once again, it was left to Lee to do most of the donkey work getting forward down that flank. Ironically, Spurs seemed to attack most down that side, without utilising Lennon to his full potential for quite a while into the half. Jenas too took a long time to get into the game, and Spurs were a little light-weight in the middle, allowing the Blues too much time and space on the ball. Davids won applause from the home crowd when he won a battle with Simon Davies (who had been greeted fondly when announced), after Everton broke from an early Spurs corner. Cahill got an early booking for kicking the ball away after a free kick had been awarded, and was then given leniency by Dermot Gallagher when giving Lennon a heavy challenge.

Despite Spurs early possession, it was Everton who had the first real threat on goal after Carrick and Jenas had failed to win the ball in the middle and McFadden was given a run, seeing his shot saved by birthday boy Paul Robinson (who did get a Happy Birthday greeting from the South Stand in the second half). Spurs won a corner after 17 minutes following a good move started by Davids’ industry, Jenas and Lennon’s passing, and a cross by Stalteri that whisked dangerously across the area. Lennon hit a great cross within the same minute, and Dawson’s header was saved superbly by Martyn, before the ball was cleared away.

After half an hour Lee raced into the Everton area and went down under a challenge, but Gallagher waved away penalty appeals, as he does most appeals for infringements! Michael Dawson had a goal-bound header blocked on the line, and then the visitors had a decent chance from a free kick on the left, headed back by Bent, and nearly converted by Kilbane were it not for the efficient blocking from Spurs defence, which stood firm throughout. Both Dawson and King looked faultless to me, and cool with it!

After 38 minutes, Paul Robinson seemed to be making a risky pick-up of a Dawson interception, which might have been interpreted as a back-pass. Robinson must have read Dermot Gallagher’s mind as he nonchalantly picked up and started a quick attack, which sent Lennon away on a great run, passing inside to Jenas for a shot that was comfortably held by Martyn.

Two minutes after the break, Everton had a throw on the right, which Ledley headed across the area, giving McFadden a half chance when he tried an overhead kick that was well wide. After 54 minutes, Carrick’s long ball was flicked on by Mido and Jermain Defoe at last had a chance but he shot straight at the keeper. Better was soon to come though, as Lennon and Stalteri combined well down the right, passing the ball back to Jenas whose cross was readily converted by a Mido header.

Jermain Jenas heads home for his first Spurs goal to seal the three points David Moyes had not reacted to the Spurs goal, before he saw his side go two behind. Mido flicked on another long ball to Defoe, now working the left side of the front line. Defoe hit a delicate chip, and Jenas had ghosted in (Peters style for the oldies!) to head home for his first Spurs goal and the first from a Spurs midfielder since May. Now Moyes did react, and big Duncan Ferguson was added to the attack, replacing a defender – Ferrari. It wasn’t long before Ferguson was heading a corner which Paul Robinson touched over the bar for a superb close-quarters save.

Despite the addition of James Beattie, that was almost all the threat seen from Everton. Stalteri managed a run which featured a slightly fortunate 1-2 with Mido, before Defoe had a shot saved. Robbie Keane replaced Defoe, and when he was seemingly pulled down in the area by Weir, the crowd wanted a penalty, but most of them had not seen Robbie backing into the defender in the first place. Everton’s one notable remaining effort did come from Beattie, meeting a corner at the near post with a header which was well wide.

Spurs then are second, at least till Monday night when Charlton are likely to beat Fulham and regain that position. We are ensured of travelling to Old Trafford next week in good heart, and above the Mancs. It is not long since this last happened, as we were in second place after six games in September 2002. We are also sure of being above our “friends from up the road” when we play them in two weeks time, as they are 5 points behind after losing at West Brom. What a great day it’s been!

Today’s report was brought to you by the number TWO. Two goals. Two headers, and second place!

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