Tottenham Hotspur vs. Everton: Final score 2-2, Bale-less Spurs held at White Hart Lane

Clive Rose

No Gareth Bale? Problem! Tottenham got out to an early lead against Everton but couldn't manage to get three points against the Toffees and had to come back late to even salvage a draw.

Within seconds of kickoff, Tottenham Hotspur were ahead. Jan Vertonghen was given space to mosey around on the left hand side, and the brilliant Belgian made Everton pay by swinging in a vicious cross that happily bypassed the massed defenders and was met by Emmanuel Adebayor on the volley six yards out. The shot was directed more or less straight at Tim Howard, but unfortunately for the Toffees, the goalkeeper allowed the ball to trickle past him and in to put Spurs 1-0 up.

Did the Toffees have a reply? Yes, although they looked broadly incompetent for much of the game leading up to the equaliser. Eventually, however, the visitors won a corner and Hugo Lloris went after a ball he was never going to get anywhere near, allowing Phil Jagielka to pop up at the far post and squeeze in a header to make it 1-1.

The rest of the first half, which had started so promisingly with that early goal, passed without much incident (which was better than the teams were doing). Tottenham tried the good old 'appeal for a penalty despite the ball hitting Darron Gibson in the chest' trick, but there wasn't even enough of a controversy there to make it interesting.

Happily for the neutral, Kevin Miralles decided to make things more exciting after the break. In the 53rd minute, the lithe Belgian burst through the Spurs lines, and, thanks to Nikica Jelavic's far post run, was given the time to slot past Lloris and into the bottom corner to give the visitors a crucial advantage.

The hosts came roaring back. Moussa Dembele rattled Howard's right-hand post straight from the kickoff, and Clint Dempsey sent a brace of 20-yard shots whistling just wide of that same post shortly thereafter. Eventually, the pressure would pay off -- although it took a while.

It's not entirely clear what Everton's defence was doing when they allowed Adebayor five yards of space to bring down Kyle Walker's cross in the penalty area, but their moment of madness cost them dearly when the striker slammed in a shot off the post and Gylfi Sigurdsson converted the rebound.

The Toffees nearly won it at the death when Victor Anichebe went one on one with Lloris only to be denied by the goalkeeper's legs, and the match would finish 2-2. It's actually a pretty poor result for both sides, but each will be reasonably pleased with the performance.

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