Spurs 1-0 Everton
Report from the Lane
09 February 2014|Tottenham Hotspur
Emmanuel Adebayor struck a vital second-half winner to catapult us back into fifth place in the Premier League, the only goal of a hard-fought and battling victory over Everton.
In a match of few clear opportunities, the striker scored a fine goal in the 65th minute to finally breach the Toffees defence, his sixth strike in 10 Premier League appearances for us this season. The win sees us move to just three points behind Liverpool in that final Champions League berth.
Tim Sherwood made just the one alteration to the line-up which drew with Hull City last weekend, with Mousa Dembele coming in for Roberto Soldado, while it was a milestone match for Kyle Walker, making his 100th Premier League appearance in our colours. Jan Vertonghen was appearing in his 50th game for us in the top flight.
It took just three minutes for the first chance of the game and it fell to the visitors, Leon Osman driving wide from 18 yards. And Osman was at the heart of the opening 10 minutes as he was on the end of four Everton opportunities inside the first 10 minutes.
The pick of the bunch came after seven minutes when Sylvain Distin drilled a pass in to Steven Naismith, he laid the ball off to Osman who hit a fine half-volley from 22 yards. It was arrowing towards the bottom corner but a magnificent one-handed diving save from Hugo Lloris denied him.
Osman then headed the resulting corner over before testing Lloris again, this time with a weak shot that the French keeper gathered comfortably.
Our first sight of goal came on 13 minutes when Paulinho was upended 28 yards out, Eriksen stepped up and hit a fine free-kick which he got up and over the wall but it just cleared the crossbar and landed on the top of the net.
Clear cut chances were at a premium though, Seamus Coleman firing in a low shot after cutting in from the right which Lloris saved down to his left, while we almost grabbed the lead on 27 minutes. Danny Rose delivered a lovely inviting cross which Emmanuel Adebayor just failed to meet with an outstretched boot when any touch would surely have seen the ball go in.
The visitors had the final say of the half when Kevin Mirallas picked up possession just inside our half, skipped past Michael Dawson and Jan Vertonghen but took the ball slightly wide to the right and blasted his shot well over.
And it was Roberto Martinez’s side who started the second period as they began the first, on the front foot but unable to steal a lead, James McCarthy firing well over after a spell of possession.
We picked up the pace as the half settled down and Adebayor headed the second of two corners wide, before the game opened up and a tight affair suddenly started to swing from end-to-end, although actually goalscoring opportunities were few and far between as the final pass from both sides wasn’t quite there.
There was a welcome return to action for Andros Townsend on 59 minutes, when he replaced Eriksen for his first appearance having missed almost two months through injury, while Everton introduced young midfielder Ross Barkley to the fray as the both teams went in search of the victory.
And on 65 minutes we were ahead. Dembele was fouled just inside the Everton half as he went to burst forward, Walker lofted a quick free-kick over the top of the Toffees defence to Adebayor, who controlled on his chest, held off Coleman and fired into the bottom corner of the net, a fine strike from the Togolese frontman.
Adebayor went close to doubling our lead 11 minutes later, rifling a shot over after good work from Bentaleb and Dembele, while a fine clearing header from Dembele prevented Everton getting a sight of goal after Gareth Barry had nodded Leighton Baines’ free-kick back across goal.
It was a nervy final few minutes as the visitors pushed for an equaliser and had shouts for a penalty waved away after Coleman went down under the challenge of Etienne Capoue. And in the dying seconds, Adebayor led a breakaway before finding substitute Jermain Defoe, his shot from a tight angle blocked by the legs of Tim Howard.
That was the final action - we weren’t quite at our best but it was three valuable points.
Spurs: Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Rose, Lennon (Defoe 85), Bentaleb, Paulinho (Capoue 68), Eriksen (Townsend 59), Dembele, Adebayor. Substitutes (not used): Friedel, Kaboul, Naughton, Soldado.
Everton: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Distin, Baines, Mirallas, Barry, McCarthy, Pienaar (Barkley 64), Osman (McGeady 73), Naismith (Deulofeu 73). Substitutes (not used): Robles, Hibbert, Stones, Traore.
Goals: Spurs – Adebayor 65.
Yellows: Spurs – Dembele.
Referee: Mr M Clattenburg.