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Unstuck against the Toffees

Posted on 30 November 2008  - 12:00

Steven Pienaar's deflected effort early on in the second half was the only thing that separated the sides as we were defeated by Everton at White Hart Lane.

Unstuck against the Toffees

Steven Pienaar's deflected effort early on in the second half was the only thing that separated the sides as we were defeated by Everton at White Hart Lane.

It was only our second defeat under Harry Redknapp's management, a first at home, and it puts the brakes on our climb up the Barclays Premier League table.

With the exception of Didier Zokora, who replaced the injured Jermaine Jenas, Harry Redknapp stuck with the same side that defeated Blackburn Rovers at The Lane seven days before.

Ledley King, Aaron Lennon, Roman Pavlyuchenko, Vedran Corluka and Benoit Assou-Ekotto all returned to the starting XI having sat out Thursday's UEFA Cup win over NEC Nijmegen.

As with the Balckburn game, this was a tight affair, and neither side could really stamp their authority on proceedings during the first half.

Tom Huddlestone went close with smart 16-yard effort on nine minutes before a lengthy spell in which the game was mainly played out in the middle of the park.

We were certainly holding our own in that particular battle, and we were the first to break out of it on 34 minutes.

Zokora picked up the ball and went on one of his trademark runs before picking out Lennon on the right side of the box, who should have done better with his chance that he blazed over.

The visitors then had their first effort on goal five minutes later, when Marouane Fellaini picked up a loose ball 25 yards out and hit a stinging shot which Heurelho Gomes palmed away.

We failed to clear our lines and the ball eventually came back to Fellaini on the edge of the box who had another shy on goal, again straight at Gomes, but this time the Brazilian held on.

But the best chance of the half fell to Darren Bent four minutes before the break, and our top scorer should have done much better with the opportunity.

Assou-Ekotto played a ball into the box with evaded Pavlyuchenko but fell to Bent 10 yards out, whose first time shot was tame and straight at Tim Howard.

He was nearly made to pay for the missed opportunity on the stroke of half-time when Tim Cahill swung in an excellent cross from the left and Louis Saha, an early replacement for the injured Yakubu, put his free header straight at Gomes.

We started the second half brightly when Assou-Ekotto hit a fantastic 30-yard strike only inches over, but we were to suffer the ultimate setback on 51 minutes.

The ball ran to South African midfielder Pienaar on the left-hand side of our box, and his shot struck Corluka to send the ball spinning away from Gomes and into the back of the net.

It was a bitter blow but we were determined to bounce back immediately, and Pavlyuchenko perhaps should have levelled two minutes later.

David Bentley deceived the defence by playing his free-kick from wide in low to the unmarked striker, who leaned back slightly and blazed his first-time shot well over from 10 yards.

At the other end, Pienaar went for his second of the match with a fierce 20-yard strike on 61 minutes, which Gomes parried away, but Everton have their goalkeeper Howard to ultimately thank for taking home the three points.

Bentley played a low ball in across the face of goal from the right on 73 minutes which Pavlyuchenko slid in on the end of, only for the American stopper to make a fantastic reflex save to deny the Russian.

Victor Anichebe, who had replaced Saha after yet another injury worry for the visitors, fired just inches wide in the closing stages as we went searching for the elusive equaliser.

But Everton stood firm in the face of a constant barrage of high balls into their box, and deservedly took the points back to Merseyside from The Lane for the third season in a row.


Spurs (4-4-2): Gomes; Corluka, Woodgate, King, Assou-Ekotto (Bale, 68); Lennon, Zokora, Huddlestone (Boateng, 76), Bentley; Pavlyuchenko, Bent (Campbell, 62)
Subs not used: Cesar, Gunter, Dawson, O'Hara

Everton (4-4-1-1): Howard; Neville, Yobo, Jagielka, Lescott; Osman (Baines, 89), Fellaini, Arteta, Pienaar; Cahill; Yakubu (Saha, 11 (Anichebe, 71))
Subs not used: Nash, Castillo, Rodwell, Gosling