A spirited performance didn’t get the result it deserved as we were held to a goalless draw by Everton at the Lane on Saturday afternoon, with the visitors’ keeper Tim Howard producing a number of big saves to deny us all three points.
The Toffees’ USA international stopper came out on top in the key moments of the contest, in particular thwarting Harry Kane when the striker was clean through in the first half and also keeping out a Ryan Mason effort after the break.
It meant our third draw in succession and leaves us without a win in our first four Premier League matches, but once again there were plenty of positives to take away and the clean sheet was our first of the campaign as well.
Mauricio Pochettino made two changes to the side which drew 1-1 at Leicester last weekend, with Danny Rose replacing Ben Davies at left-back, while Nabil Bentaleb came in for Erik Lamela, with Mason moving further forward into the attacking midfield positions.
With both sides slowly feeling their way into the game, it took a while for the chances to flow, 10 minutes on the clock before the first shot in anger saw Mousa Dembele play in Kane but his effort drifted harmlessly wide.
Five minutes later Nacer Chadli cut in from the left flank and set the ball for Bentaleb to get a shot away from the edge of the area but it was always heading past Howard’s far post, while shortly after Everton had their first sight of goal. Kyle Walker was dispossessed by Tom Cleverley 20 yards out, the Toffees midfielder cut inside Toby Alderweireld and hit a right-foot shot which was heading for the top corner before Hugo Lloris intervened with a fine save.
A lovely pass from Eric Dier released Rose bursting down the left on 18 minutes, his pulled back cross found Mason but he was unable to get a clean connection and the danger was cleared.
Kane and Ross Barkley both fired well over at opposite ends of the pitch before we carved out a glorious chance to take the lead. Mason hit a long ball from the right-back berth which evaded the Everton defence and found Kane clear on goal, one-on-one with Howard, but the keeper saved his effort with his leg to keep the game goalless.
Howard again kept us out with a save with his legs on 28 minutes, this time denying Mason from 10 yards after he latched onto a delightful reverse pass from Chadli. And he was there again on the half hour, getting down low to tip Bentaleb’s long-ranger away from danger.
At the other end, Everton showed they were still a threat when Romelu Lukaku flicked on for Cleverley wide on the left flank, he found Barkley who sidestepped a challenge and got his shot away, but it was comfortable for Lloris.
There was a delay in play late in the half when Cleverley received treatment following a strong – but clean – tackle from Dier, the Everton midfielder having to be stretchered off and replaced by Kevin Mirallas and the sides went in goalless at the interval.
We were quickly on the offensive following the restart, Dembele twice creating havoc in the Everton defence but the visitors were able to clear, while Chadli volleyed well wide after an excellent nod down by Kane.
But we had to make a change moments later, Dembele sustaining an injury and being replaced by Dele Alli.
Ten minutes into the second half and it was that man Howard again thwarting another glorious opportunity, the ball falling to Mason 10 yards from goal but he couldn’t get it past the Everton stopper. Lukaku glanced a header just wide at the other end as the game started to open up, and a flurry of yellow cards only added to the drama.
Kane found space 20 yards and fired in an effort which looped up off a defender and fell kindly for Howard, before we created another gilt-edged chance on 65 minutes. The ball came to Kane 15 yards out, he couldn’t get a shot away but managed to find Chadli, but the Belgian international fired over the bar.
There was almost a wonder goal from Jan Vertonghen, who strode forward purposefully on 68 minutes, beat two tackles and hit a drive from the edge of the area that just cleared Howard’s bar as we got closer and closer to finding the elusive opening goal.
But it wasn’t just ourselves who were having chances, the visitors going close when Bryan Oviedo delivered a teasing cross which Arouna Kone glanced goalwards, only for the ball to just evade the far post. And Kane did have the ball in the net on 76 minutes but the referee’s assistant’s flag was up early and it was disallowed for offside.
The tension was really bubbling up and the tackles were flying in from both sets of players and, with the atmosphere inside the stadium cranking up, it was making for a dramatic conclusion to the contest.
Mirallas fired a free-kick well over and Barkley mis-fired his shot when in a good position, while we introduced Alex Pritchard for Mason for the final few minutes. But although both teams applied some late pressure, there was never that golden chance to win the game and we had to settle for a third straight draw.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris, Walker, Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Rose, Dier, Bentaleb, Dembele (Alli 53), Mason (Pritchard 85), Chadli, Kane. Substitutes (not used): Vorm, Trippier, Davies, Carroll, Lamela.
Everton (4-2-3-1): Howard, Coleman, Stones, Jagielka, Oviedo, Barry, Cleverley (Mirallas 45), McCarthy, Barkley, Kone (Deulofeu 84), Lukaku (Naismith 69). Substitutes (not used): Robles, Besic, Browning, Pennington.
Yellow cards: Spurs – Alli, Bentaleb, Dier, Chadli; Everton - Barry.
Referee: Mike Jones.