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Honours even at WHL

Posted on 23 October 2010  - 12:00

Peter Crouch and Rafael Van der Vaart combined again - but we couldn't find the knockout blow as it ended 1-1 against Everton on Saturday.

Honours even at WHL

Peter Crouch and Rafael Van der Vaart combined again - but we couldn't find the knockout blow as it ended 1-1 against Everton on Saturday.

Van der Vaart marked his return to the side with his fourth goal in as many starts after missing the midweek clash at Inter Milan through suspension.

And once again, Crouch was the architect.

Just like the previous three goals against FC Twente and Villa, Crouch was there to meet a cross and provide the Dutchman with the chance to score.

This time, Alan Hutton floated in the cross to the far post and Crouch, under pressure, somehow managed to nod back across goal, leaving van der Vaart with a tap in for the equaliser.

But that's how it stayed in the early kick-off at the Lane as Everton, as always, proved a tough nut to crack.

Harry Redknapp made three changes from the line-up at Inter Milan on Wednesday.

Younes Kaboul, Wilson Palacios and van der Vaart all returned for Sebastien Bassong, Tom Huddlestone and Jermaine Jenas. Sandro was also back on the bench.

Everton were without the injured Mikel Arteta but Steven Pienaar returned for his first start in almost a month.

There was a poignant start to the day as we held a minute's applause in the memory of recently passed Eddie Baily and Mel Hopkins and to mark the sixth anniversary of the passing of the great Bill Nicholson.

The early exchanges were tight and it took until the 11th minute for the first effort at goal, a 25-yarder from Tim Cahill easily gathered by Gomes, followed quickly by Tim Howard's first save, the keeper down well to his right to divert Luka Modric's drive.

Van der Vaart played in Modric with an exquisite backheel after 16 minutes but Modric opted to square rather than shoot and the ball was cleared.

We fell behind within a minute. Younes Kaboul was pulled up for a foul on the edge of the box and Leighton Baines curled the free-kick left-footed into the top corner.

A quick response was required and arrived within four minutes.

Hutton's cross took Howard out of the game and Crouch's header at the far post left van der Vaart with an open goal for 1-1.

Our best spell of the half followed as Modric fired just wide and Crouch, causing Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin all sorts of problems in the air, looked to be dragged to the floor by Jagielka, but appeals were waved away.

Baines had a carbon-copy free-kick on 36 minutes but this time curled over and another pinpoint cross from Hutton was met by Crouch in added time, only for his header to go straight at Howard.

The manager made a change at half-time with Sandro replacing Palacios, booked early, in central midfield.

We started well. Crouch dragged a half-chance wide with his left foot, Bale's flick from Sandro's cross just evaded William Gallas and Kaboul powered over from Bale's corner.

The game was a lot scrappier in the second half as chances became few and far between.

Roman Pavlyuchenko entered the fray for Lennon in the 70th minute and a minute later Crouch fired tamely at Howard.

The frustration of the afternoon was getting to everyone and van der Vaart was booked for dissent.

Pavlyuchenko's effort from the edge of the box was deflected out of Howard's reach but wide in the 77th minute and Benoit Assou-Ekotto drilled a 25-yarder the wrong side of the post five minutes later.

A couple of late crosses into Crouch almost paid dividend, not least when he nodded down to van der Vaart in the final minute, but typically of the game, he was crowded out.

Spurs (4-4-1-1): Gomes; Hutton, Gallas, Kaboul, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon (Pavlyuchenko, 70), Palacios (Sandro, 46), Modric, Bale; Van der Vaart; Crouch. Subs: Cudicini, Bassong, Jenas, Kranjcar, Keane.

Everton (4-1-4-1): Howard; Neville, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Heitinga (Hibbert, 78); Coleman (Beckford, 84), Cahill, Pienaar, Bilyaletdinov; Yakubu (Saha, 63). Subs: Mucha, Gueye, Duffy, Baxter.

Goals: Spurs - Van der Vaart 20. Everton - Baines 17.

Attendance: 35,967.

Referee: Mr M Jones.