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Goalless at Goodison

Posted on 9 May 2009  - 12:00

It was stalemate against Everton at Goodison Park in a game of very few chances.

Goalless at Goodison

It was stalemate against Everton at Goodison Park in a game of very few chances.

It was gritty, uncompromising with no lack of commitment, but it was a game that ultimately lacked movement of quality and precision passing in the final third.

It added up to another clean sheet for Heurelho Gomes - who was kept more occupied by regular back-passes than attacking play from the home side - and a point towards our bid for seventh spot in the Premier Leaue. Whether it is viewed as a point won or two lost will become clearer in the final two weeks of the season.

The team sprang into life - after some early sparring - at around the eight-minute mark when the restored Gareth Bale eased down the left and pinged the ball into the area. His efforts were not completely repelled by the Everton defences and Robbie Keane was presented with a potshot on goal that only a last-ditch lunge could deny from working Tim Howard.

Bale was part of a re-shaped model on the day, operating as a wingback in tandem with Alan Hutton on the right - Vedran Corluka shifted across to make it a central defensive three with Jonathan Woodgate and Ledley King. Tom Huddlestone was drafted into midfield in place of Wilson Palacios, while Jermain Defoe started the game in partnership with Robbie Keane.

Bale went close with a twice-taken free-kick in what was an enterprising period of attacking play from the team, before a Defoe chip in the direction of Keane in front of goal was just missed by the skipper.

It was not a half brimming with goalmouth action and end-to-end incident, but it would be fair to say the more composed team was the one in white.

That was possibly until a swift counter resulted in Steven Pienaar shooting from the left of the area, where it took a sliding block by King to prevent Heurelho Gomes being tested from an angle. A Jack Rodwell shot from distance drew gasps from the crowd but was contently watched by Gomes sailing over the bar.

Again in the second half, the goalkeepers were redundant as a scrappy battle was played out in front of them. Hutton was booked and given the bird by the home support following a tangle with Jack Rodwell before Tim Cahill finally tried his luck and shot narrowly wide of Gomes' left hand upright.

Everton were gaining in confidence from some goalmouth scrambles, Dan Gosling hitting the upright following a punched clearance from Gomes in dealing with an inswinging corner.

At the other end a Defoe shot on the turn came pretty close to making an entry on the scoresheet.

The home side were beginning to shade the physical battle as we entered the final 15 minutes and Harry Redknapp soon gestured for Roman Pavlyuchenko to return to the technical area from his warm-up.

Luka Modric was withdrawn and Keane dropped deeper into his left-sided position, but it was Everton who continued in an attempt to force the issue with a muscular approach and longer game.

This was resisted without great alarm and there was to be no dramatic finale in front of a crowd of 36,646.

Everton: Howard, Neville, Baines, Lescott, Yobo, Pienaar, Rodwell, Cahill, Gosling (Osman, 69), Fellaini, Jo (Saha, 69). Unused: Nash, Castillo, Vaughan, Jacobsen, Wallace.

Spurs: Gomes, Hutton, Bale, Corluka, Woodgate, King, Jenas, Huddlestone, Modric (Pavlyuchenko, 81), Keane, Defoe. Unused: Cudicini, Bentley, Gunter, Campbell, Chimbonda, Rose.