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Everton v Spurs, 06.12.09


Everton scorers:-
Saha, 78
Cahill, 86

Spurs scorers:-
Defoe, 47
Dawson, 59

Attendance:- 34,003

Referee:- Mr. A. Marriner
Assistants:- Mr. M. Murphy, Mr. A. Watts
Fourth Official:- Mr. M. Jones

Everton (4-4-1-1):- Howard; Neill, Hibbert, Yobo (sub Coleman, 15), Baines; Pienaar, Fellaini, Rodwell (sub Yakubu, 62), Bilyaletdinov; Cahill (Capt.); Jo (sub Saha, 62)

Subs not used:- Nash; Duffy; Agard, Baxter

Booked:- Rodwell, Fellaini, Baines, Cahill

Spurs (4-4-2):- Gomes; Corluka, Dawson (Capt.), Bassong, Ekotto (sub Bale, 46); Lennon, Huddlestone, Palacios (sub Hutton, 90), Kranjcar (sub Jenas, 88); Defoe, Crouch

Subs not used:- Alnwick; Bentley; Pavlyuchenko, Keane

Booked:- Dawson, Ekotto, Huddlestone, Bale

High Drama at Goodison

There was high drama at Goodison Park today, as Spurs went two up against a patched-up Everton defence, but then succumbed to a switch in tactics when the home side played two strikers and attacked the Gwladys Street End relentlessly, scoring at the end of two moves where they were allowed acres of space on the Spurs’ left side. Spurs were then awarded an added time penalty after Wilson Palacios was brought down in the box, but Jermain Defoe fired his spot kick for Tim Howard to save with his legs. The passionate Everton crowd celebrated the draw like a win, whilst Spurs fans anxiously awaited the final whistle before sloping off rueing two lost points. The Sky TV viewers must have been enthralled.

Harry Redknapp started with the team that had played so well last Saturday at Villa Park, which had deserved a win but had to be satisfied with a draw. This time they certainly should have won the game, but paid the penalty for not having it well and truly wrapped up, as they could have won by a three goal margin.

David Moyes’ selection problems were well known, but in front of his defence, he had almost a first choice line-up. He tried Yobo at the back, but he could last no longer than 15 minutes, being replaced by Seamus Coleman, making only his second Premier League appearance, and his first at home. Coleman took up the right back position, and was to have a telling influence in Everton’s fight-back, against Spurs substitute Gareth Bale, who replaced Ekotto at half-time. Lucas Neill (once of Blackburn and West ham) switched to the centre, beside Hibbert, and Baines stayed at left back. Everton went with a 4-4-1-1, with Cahill supporting Jo, but all of the midfield gave Spurs plenty to think about.

Wilson Palacios was chief ball-winner for Spurs, and on plenty of occasions, we were grateful for his never-say-die attitude. Huddlestone’s effort was good too, but sometimes the ball fell in his favour, rather than him being in full control. Kranjcar was having trouble finding room for manoeuvre against the combative Toffees.

Gomes was the first keeper to have a save to make, from Jo, although the ball had bounced fortunately for the Brazilian. Defoe and Lennon retaliated at the other end, and Lennon’s shot from Defoe’s pass was blocked and went for a corner. 18 year old Jack Rodwell impressed me again and got goalside of Bassong with a good run. However, Gomes was equal to the shot. Next it was Fellaini trying his luck, but from distance, and going wide of the target.

Palacios released Lennon with a good ball from half-way, and Aaron was away on a trademark run, feeding the ball to Crouch, who hit a powerful rising shot over the bar. Only 10 minutes had gone, and already you had the feeling that Spurs needed to capitalise on the good chances they were creating. Huddlestone sent a good ball down the middle which was chested down by Crouch for Defoe, who took two touches (one too many), before his left foot shot was saved.

Defoe received a good ball from Corluka, and held off his defender, before turning to his left and hitting a shot that Howard saved. Coleman got a run down the right flank, and took the ball to the bye line before his ball to the near post was nearly converted by Jo, but touched out for a corner by Gomes. Jo then got a chance after a good ball by Rodwell, hitting a shot past Gomes, but wide of his left post. Referee Mr Marriner waved a play-on for Everton and Pienaar crossed to the near post, giving Jo another chance, which was spurned. Skipper Michael Dawson got a booking for a high tackle and Baines took the free kick which Gomes saved well diving to his left, and holding the shot cleanly.

The referee did not show a card to Rodwell, when he cynically fouled Lennon as he was about to break clear out of the Spurs half. Mr. Marriner was not slow to show yellow throughout the rest of the game! Defoe had another good chance after 32 minutes, which was not even on target. Ekotto and Fellaini were involved in a touchline spat, and both saw yellow. Tim Howard did fumble a Lennon cross, but the ball was cleared and the scorers had not been bothered at half-time.

Spurs came out with a mission after the break. Defoe had already had one chance, and there had been a good attack from the left side, before Lennon crossed powerfully to the near post, where Defoe hooked home in a similar style to his best goal against Wigan. After 52 minutes, Defoe got a touch of head n a ball that fell for Crouch, who should have scored (an open goal), but put it past the post. Jo had another chance which was put over the bar, before Defoe teed up Huddlestone for a shot which was deflected for a corner, taken by Kranjcar and converted in dramatic fashion by Dawson’s quite spectacular diving header. The celebrations in front of the gleeful travelling supporters was enthusiastic to say the least. Everton’s fans sulked and some even started to disappear, as Spurs continued to dominate possession for a while.

However, Moyes had made the tactical switch immediately after falling two behind, and Spurs surrendered the initiative, playing with less composure and allowing more space – particularly in areas that Gareth Bale should have been guarding. On the one hand, Bale had done well from an attacking perspective, getting the ball all the way to the touchline, but on the other, he allowed rookie Coleman to exploit space and time behind him. Kranjcar had put a good ball through the defence for Crouch, and this was the one he should not have missed, but hit wide.

Everton’s first goal came in the 78th minute. Bale was too central, and Coleman got behind him to cross to the near post where Louis Saha finished accurately with a rising shot that hit the net with power. Crouch gave Defoe a chance, and Howard had to pat the ball away for a Spurs corner. It was end to end stuff, and by now the home crowd sensed more drama to come. Saha tried a quite spectacular scissor kick from a cross from the left, and with little more than three minutes left the equaliser came after another Bale gaffe, a cross from his side, and whilst the ball had been sent deep, it came back to the middle where Cahill made the brave stooping finish.

Jenas came on for Kranjcar, and as we entered 4 minutes of added time, Huddlestone hit a free kick that was cleared, before Wilson Palacios ran into the box and went flying under the challenge of Hibbert. There was a long delay before Palacios was stretchered off (to rousing boos by the home fans for being “a cheat”). Eventually Defoe took the kick but too close to Howard who made the save with his legs. Having had that disappointment, we then had to endure well over 7 minutes of added time to at least make sure of the point.

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