Report: Everton 2-2 Spurs
English Barclays Premiership
A rollercoaster of a Premiership opener at Everton but, unfortunately, the biggest down on the ride outweighed the highs.
The packed away contingent at Goodison Park must have uttered a collective 'oh no', or words to that effect, when their hero Stephen Carr collapsed in heat in front of them having cleared his lines under pressure from Wayne Rooney.
It didn't take long for physio Ally Beattie to signal to the bench that Carr's participation was all over and early reports from Glenn Hoddle suggest he will be out for six weeks.
Glenn was naturally down about the situation afterwards and you could hardly blame him. He's waited over a year to pair Carr and Christian Ziege together as wing-backs in the same side and he's lost them both in the space of 10 days.
But there were plenty of ups and positives as well. Jamie Redknapp was absolutely outstanding in his Premiership debut for the club and completed his first 90 minutes of the season.
Matty Etherington picked up where he left off in our final friendly against Lazio, constantly looked to take on his full-back and scored a sublime equaliser, his first Premiership goal, Simon Davies was a bundle of energy in midfield and Les Ferdinand, back from injury, found the net with his first touch.
In the end there was a lot to commend the side on after an uninspiring first half display.
Highlights and chances were few in a frantic first 45 minutes where Redknapp and Goran Bunjevcevic provided calmness in the midfield madness but Everton, boosted by the Rooney factor, had the slight edge.
They deserved their lead which arrived after 37 minutes. We were actually on the attack but Hibbert's early ball down the flank to the pacy Radzinski stretched us, Radzinski cut inside and fed Rooney who rolled the inch-perfect pass for Mark Pembridge to crash home.
Carr's departure just before the break was a further blow so all the more credit to the side for completely turning the match on its head in the second half.
We first had to thank Mauricio Taricco for clearing Alan Stubbs' header off the line but our passing, possession play turned up right on cue, as did the equaliser.
Teddy Sheringham, Davies and Redknapp played a couple of triangles from halfway and eventually Redknapp poked the ball into the path of Etherington who crashed his shot home off the crossbar from the angle.
Ferdinand entered the fray for the first time this season in the 71st minute and it took him two minutes and two touches to make his mark.
Steffen Iversen played the ball into his feet and Ferdinand controlled and aimed a low, curling effort towards the bottom corner that went through Richard Wright and nestled nicely in the bottom corner.
To their credit, Everton found a final effort and an equaliser. Kevin Campbell played a clever pass inside Ben Thatcher to Radzinski who cut inside Dean Richards before shooting low past a helpless Keller.
Two points lost or a point gained? A bit of both.
AS IT HAPPENED...our minute-by-minute guide to the action...
6mins: First danger as Keller tips away Pembridge's inswinging corner. Weir, stretching, then headed over the following corner.
12mins: Redknapp penalty appeal waved away after clever triangle with Davies and Sheringham.
13mins: Best chance yet as Gravesen dribbled away from Redknapp and Bunjevcevic, pinpoint pass found Campbell and Pembridge on goal but Campbell, in a worse position, hit weak shot straight at Keller.
18mins: Richards flick from Davies long throw caused all sorts of problems but Iversen couldn't force home loose ball.
22mins: Decent possession, Sheringham curled wide from 20 yards.
27mins: Etherington cut inside Tie and Hibbert, cut back to Iversen whose weak shot was blocked.
34mins: Campbell one-two with Pembridge but Richards shielded ball well back to Keller.
37mins: GOAL. Ball down the flank to Radzinski stretched us, he cut inside and found Rooney who rolled the ball invitingly for Pembridge to crack home from 12 yards. 0-1.
41mins: Sheringham curled free-kick harmlessly over the bar.
44mins: INJURY. Nightmare as Carr hobbles off with what looked like a hamstring problem. Replaced by Thatcher.
Half-time: Everton 1-0 Spurs
46mins: Rooney looping header gathered by Keller.
49mins: Iversen flick header from Redknapp free-kick just wide.
54mins: Rooney trod on the ball but flashed in a 25-yard drive in an instant that Keller tipped over.
57mins: OFF LINE. Keller saved bravely in a 50-50 with Campbell. From corner, Taricco cleared Stubbs' flick off the line and the same player powered a header over after Rooney retrieved the ball.
62mins: GOAL. Best possession of the game, move involving Redknapp, Davies and Sheringham ended with Redknapp poking the ball through to Etherington who fired home off the crossbar. 1-1.
66mins: SUB. Alexandersson for Rooney.
68mins: Alexandersson burst into the box and shot inches wide.
71mins: SUB. Ferdinand for Sheringham.
73mins: GOAL. Ferdinand's first touch, controlled a pass 20 yards out, curled low and hard, through Wright, into the bottom corner. 2-1.
76mins: SUB. Rodrigol for Li Tie.
77mins: Rodrigol shot in a packed area hacked away by Redknapp.
78mins: YELLOW. Davies (trip).
80mins: GOAL. Campbell pass inside Thatcher to Radzinski, he cut inside Richards before drilling low into the bottom corner. 2-2.
84mins: SUBS. Acimovic for Iversen, Unsworth for Radzinski.
85mins: YELLOW. Pembridge (foul).
85mins: Acimovic free-kick kept in play by Ferdinand, Richards onto loose ball but shot smoothered by Wright.
Injury time: Ferdinand inches away from Acimovic free-kick.
Line-ups: Everton: Wright, Stubbs, Weir, Radzinksi (Unsworth, 84), Campbell, Pembridge, Li Tie (Rodrigol, 76), Naysmith, Gravesen, Rooney (Alexandersson, 66), Hibbert. Subs: Linderoth, Simonsen.
Spurs: Keller, Carr (Thatcher, 44), Taricco, Bunjevcevic, Sheringham (Ferdinand, 71), Redknapp, Iversen (Acimovic, 84), Etherington, Davies, Gardner, Richards. Subs: Perry, Sullivan.