Nikica Jelavic marked his full home debut for Everton with the winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Tottenham, providing the perfect celebration ahead of next weekÂ´s 10-year anniversary as Everton manager and maintained momentum ahead of TuesdayÂ´s Merseyside derby at Liverpool.
David Moyes handed Nikica Jelavic his full home debut, with the Croatian international replacing Denis Stracqualursi up front in one of three changes made to the side that drew 1-1 at QPR. Elsewhere, Leon Osman and Seamus Coleman came in for Tony Hibbert and Steven Pienaar.
The game started fairly timidly, with the first real opportunity coming on 20 minutes when Brad Friedel saved well with his outstretched leg to deny Marouane Fellaini´s left-footed angled shot.
As Tottenham struggled to deal with the movement and fluency of Everton´s midfield five, Leighton Baines found Leon Osman running from deep on the inside left channel, Osman deftly took possession past Younes Kaboul before pulling the ball back for striker Jelavic, who shown excellent composure to guide the ball beyond Brad Friedel from 10 yards. 1-0.
The reaction from the away side lacked urgency and besides a couple of Bale long-range strikes, Tim Howard was hardly troubled by the half-hour mark.
Friedel, in contrast, had to make a low stop from a deflected Royston Drenthe effort and a sprawling parry from a Jelavic free-kick.
Spurs opted to stick with the same starting XI as they emerged for the second half and they showed renewed vigour as Defoe found space on the left of the box for Parker´s pass.
His jink inside and right-footed shot tested Howard but the American´s save was routine as he beat the ball away for a corner.
Introducing the Everton Mishmash!
Everton, in truth, mustered little of note by the 65th minute and only the introduction of Jack Rodwell stemmed the flow of Spurs attacks.
Rafael Van der Vaart replaced Sandro with 20 minutes to go but immediately Spurs had to deal with a rare Everton attack. Osman was played in on goal on the right of the box but his drive was too central and saved by Friedel.
Five minutes after Van der Vaart´s introduction, Spurs thought they were level. Benoit Assou-Ekotto´s cross found its way to the back-post with Bale arriving.
As the ball jumped up and struck Bale on the chest, it fell to Defoe who turned it past Howard. Unfortunately for the striker he had wandered a yard offside making the decision to disallow the strike correct.
Van der Vaart saw a deflected shot nestle on the roof of Howard´s net and when the resulting corner was played short to Assou-Ekotto, his shot squirmed to Saha.
The Frenchman´s attempt, as he lost balance, wrong-footed Howard but struck the foot of the post and away to safety.
The fortune was with Everton, who had earned their luck