REPORT: EVERTON 0, SPURS 0
It was a first 0-0 draw of the season as the team shared the spoils with Everton at Goodison Park on Wednesday night.
It was a first 0-0 draw of the season as the team shared the spoils with Everton at Goodison Park on Wednesday night.It was not a hugely inspiring encounter, but the occasion did witness the debut of Jonathan Woodgate and a Premier League first for Chris Gunter - both players impressed
The first 15 minutes were largely uneventful, although you could sense the contest was developing a feisty edge to it and the tackles were flying in - even though a shot had yet to fly in at this stage.
An enterprising bit of keepy-uppy and overhead kick from Steed Malbranque 23 minutes in was the first action of sorts before a Nuno Valente corner was smuggled down by Victor Anichebe and it appeared that Andy Johnson was in prime position to open the scoring. Thankfully he let the ball drift away from his control in front of Radek Cerny.
Anichebe was starting to cause a few problems and his presence led to the ball landing in front of Leighton Baines, who was ready with a rocket, but the anticipation of debut-making Jonathan Woodgate averted danger. A Phil Neville cross was then caught on the turn by Johnson and Cerny did well to foil.
Johnson was claiming a penalty from referee Mr Marriner just over ten minutes before the break after falling in a run against Tom Huddlestone. The referee was proved right in his refusal as replays showed the striker clearly clipped the back of his own leg and there was no contact with Huddlestone.
The period of pressure led to the home crowd finding their voice the run-in to half-time, but level pegging it was at half-time, but Mikel Arteta did his level best to alter that in the moments after the interval, skipping past Huddlestone before dinking over a cross-shot that any sort of attacking connection would have resulted in the lead being taken.
At the other end Neville gave the ball away and Robbie Keane was primed to take advantage but took a touch before curling into the hands of Tim Howard in the Everton goal from inside the area.
Berbatov was the recipient of a superb flicked header from Keane that set him off on a run for goal, only denied - illegally he suggested - by the shoulder of Joleon Lescott. Just before the hour mark, Manuel Fernandes slotted Johnson through in the area and the England international fired goalwards and was brilliantly denied by smart movement off his line by Cerny. The excellent Woodgate cleared up behind him.
Kevin Boateng was introduced on 62 minutes in place of Chris Gunter, who had just made his Premier League debut. Jamie O'Hara switched to Gunter's left-back berth, with Boateng slotting into middle ground.
Everton increased the tempo, it wasn't leading to a direct threat on goal, but it was pretty direct all the same. News filtered through that Liverpool were losing at West Ham and this lifted the crowd for the final minutes.
However, it was the team in white shirts who made the big final push and there was a decent penalty shout when Malbranque was trodden on by Lescott in the area. Goalless it remained despite a late chance for Berbatov on his birthday.