English Premiership

Everton, Spurs share spoils

2013-11-03 18:00
Romelu Lukaku and Moussa Dembele (AFP)

Liverpool - Everton and Tottenham Hotspur have both missed the opportunity to climb up to second place in the Premier League table after a goalless draw at Goodison Park on Sunday.

Spurs were unfortunate not to be ahead at half-time after they dominated the first period, with Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard saving from Kyle Walker and Andros Townsend.

Everton were much improved after the interval, but despite chances for Steven Pienaar and Gerard Deulofeu, they were unable to break the stalemate.

The draw saw Tottenham climb up to fourth place, level on 20 points with Liverpool and Chelsea and five points behind leaders Arsenal.

Everton remain in seventh on 19 points, level with Southampton and Manchester City, who are above them on goal difference.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez made one change to the side that won 2-0 at Aston Villa as Leon Osman was preferred in midfield to Ross Barkley.

Tottenham named the same team that beat Hull City in their last league outing, with Lewis Holtby keeping his place ahead of Christian Eriksen in the playmaker role behind lone striker Roberto Soldado.

Andre Villas-Boas's side began confidently and midfielder Sandro forced Howard to tip the ball around the post with a low shot from distance in the third minute.

Everton, by contrast, struggled to find their rhythm and were almost punished when winger Kevin Mirallas was caught in possession 30 yards from goal by Paulinho, but the Spurs midfielder's cross was cut out by Phil Jagielka.

Howard was called into action again in the 19th minute when Walker curled a free-kick from a dangerous position over the Everton wall that the United States international punched away.

Spurs were also aggrieved not to be awarded a penalty after Jan Vertonghen went down under pressure from Seamus Coleman inside the hosts' area.

The home side registered their first significant attempt just before the half-hour mark when Osman struck a speculative effort from distance that flew just over the bar.

Everton left-back Leighton Baines was given a stern test of his defensive qualities as the combined threat of Townsend and Walker posed problems down the Spurs right flank.

And Townsend created a shooting opportunity for himself six minutes before half-time when he cut inside and drilled in a low effort, only to find Howard well positioned at his near post.

Everton finally started to find some success as they showed more ambition after the interval.

A neat passing move on the edge of the penalty area carved out a chance for Pienaar, who saw his shot blocked by Spurs defender Michael Dawson.

In search of more quality in the final third, Martinez made a double change in the 61st minute as Deulofeu and Barkley replaced Mirallas and Osman.

And the latter immediately looked to make an impact as he struck a swerving shot from 25 yards that flew just over the top-right corner of Hugo Lloris's goal.

Coleman was then denied a penalty in a reversal of his first-half tangle with Vertonghen, who clipped the Irishman's heels as he shaped to shoot, only for referee Kevin Friend to wave play on.

Tottenham's forays into the Everton half became infrequent as the game wore on, although substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson brought a fine save out of Howard with a stinging shot from the corner of the box.

There was a lengthy delay in the 78th minute when Lloris took a blow to the head after colliding with Romelu Lukaku, but despite looking shaken, the Spurs goalkeeper remained on the pitch.

On-loan Barcelona forward Deulofeu jinked into the penalty area late on as Everton pushed for a winner, but Lloris was quick off his line and parried his angled drive.

Everton looked the more likely to score in the nine minutes of added time, but they were unable to break down a disciplined Spurs back-line.


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