Everton 2-2 Tottenham Hotspur

Last-gasp Jarrad earns Blues a vital point.

Two sublime first half finishes by former Blues favourite Richarlison weren’t enough to secure three points as a dogged display by Everton saw them twice come from behind with the point saving goal from Jarrad Branthwaite coming deep into added-on time.

Tuesday’s draw at Fulham coupled with Luton’s victory over Brighton saw Everton drop into the bottom three, so this lunchtime kick off against Spurs took on extra emphasis and pressure to get a positive result.

Spurs are the only side to have scored in every Premier League game they’ve played this season whilst Everton have recorded the most clean sheets – six from nine games – since the start of December… and the Blues were desperately unlucky not to take at least a point from the game at White Hart Lane when VAR denied what appeared to be a perfectly good goal by Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Blues boss Sean Dyche referred to the part Jordan Pickford has played in all those clean sheet games when he said, “I think he can see the picture well because the team’s organisation has looked good in front of him and obviously keepers can see how the team’s operating – the yardages, the distances, how they are working as a collective, and I think he’s been enjoying that in front of him. So, that’s a good measure of a keeper, when they think the structure is right. I think it gives them confidence and likewise, it gives the defending side of the team confidence as well.”

Some good news for the Blues heading into this vital fixture with the return of Idrissa Gana Gueye from international duty with Senegal at the AFCON tournament, and ready to slot straight back into the midfield. In other squad news, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Andre Gomes were unlikely to be ready for selection whilst Seamus Coleman, Amadou Onana and Arnaut Danjuma were assessed prior to Sean Dyche submitting his team sheet to the match officials naming his starting eleven thus: Jordan Pickford, Ben Godfrey, James Tarkowski (c), Jarrad Branthwaite, Vitalii Mykolenko, Ashley Young, James Garner, Idrissa Gana Gueye, Dwight McNeil, Jack Harrison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

Spurs, under former Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou, started the season like a runaway train but, have been reined in by ‘the usual suspects’. They are however still in the top four and looking to cement that place to achieve automatic qualification to the Champions League next season.

The Australian of Greek descent was without Son Heung-Min and Yves Bissouma, both still on international duty but, had Pape Sarr back from his stint alongside Gana Gueye in the Senegalese midfield. And with only Giovani Lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon unavailable, the Spurs boss had practically a full squad to select from.

With a very good record against Everton in the Premier League era and looking to cement their top four place, Spurs travelled north having beaten Brentford in midweek and no doubt with former Blue Richarlison looking forward to a warm welcome on his Goodison return.

Postegoglou duly named his starting line-up: Vicario, Porro, Romero (c), Van De Ven, Udogie, Hojbjerg, Bentancur, Johnson, Maddison, Werner Kulusevski, and Richarlison.

On what promised to be a tense afternoon, Michael Oliver was the referee.

Just over three minutes in and the Blues were behind as Spurs pressed forward and Hojbjerg found Werner who played in Udogie for a cutback cross that Richarlison, perfectly placed just outside the six yard area, swept a left-footed volley high past Pickford and politely decided not to celebrate his eighth goal in his last eight games.

Behind the proverbial eight ball, Everton tried to respond with a cross from the right that DCL climbed for but, couldn’t direct his header on target as the ball sailed over the bar. Tottenham capitalised on a poor ball from Garner with Richarlison relaying the ball on to Maddison and his shot took a deflection out for a corner that resulted in Hojbjerg failing to keep his shot down and it sailed high and wide and out for a goal kick.

On ten minutes, the Goodison crowd showed its disdain for the Premier League and they way the club is being treat with a display of yellow placards proclaiming the PL doesn’t know what it’s doing.

Romero held up DCL after he’s collected a fine ball from Pickford and after a push by Johnson on Garner went unpunished, referee Oliver did give the Blues a free kick for a foul by Hojbjerg. Spurs defended the set piece before Hojbjerg headed a cross from Young out for the Blues first corner that saw Tarkowski penalised for impeding Vicario.

Everton got another free kick this time for a foul by Johnson on Garner and McNeil sent it long to Young who saw his cross back across the area hoofed clear by Porro. Gana Gueye played a good ball to Mykolenko and his cross found McNeil only for Harrison to inadvertently block his shot before the inane late offside flag was raised against Mykolenko.

This crazy late flagging for offside rule came again a couple of minutes later a Gana Gueye played a decent ball through for DCL with Van de Ven getting back quickly in the event DCL wasn’t offside. Udogie conceded a second Everton corner that reached DCL who was falling backwards and was unable to get any power or direction into his header that went out tamely for a goal kick.

Jordan Pickford was nearly caught out by Maddison and hurriedly put the ball into touch, not the first indecision by the Blues at the back in this game – maybe the pressure was beginning to play on one or two minds.

A cross from the right by Young was too strong for DCL but, the next raid saw Young, found by Harrison after a good interception by Branthwaite, win a third corner and it brought the equaliser as McNeil found Tarkowski at the back post and his header back across the face of goal saw Dominic Calvert-Lewin stoop to nod home from about a yard on the half hour, with a slight deflection off Jack Harrison. Goodison roared its relief as VAR confirmed no infringement and the goal stood.

Gana Gueye was hurt and after treatment, left the field for the now obligatory 30 seconds and immediately made a good tackle to set the Blues going forward again. Everton were now looking sharper and quicker to the ball. A good tackle by and ball from Young to McNeil saw Bentancur bring down McNeil 30 yards out however, the free kick didn’t produce and we passed the 40 minute mark with Spurs going forward to retake the lead as a short pass to his inside by Maddison found Richarlison and he bent a superb right-footed shot into Gwladys Street goal for his second uncelebrated marker.

Everton tried to respond again with Harrison looking to find DCL, Romero getting back to shepherd the ball back to Vicario and then a terrible ball from Romero was picked off by Gana Gueye and he chose to shoot rather than find DCL who was better placed and his shot was deflected behind for a corner that saw Vicario kick a header by Godfrey off the line under pressure from Harrison and DCL.

Five added-on minutes were announced with Van de Ven blocking DCL and the Blues winning another corner from the left that Garner took and again, referee Oliver ruled in favour of Vicario for interference by Harrison. A great cross from Harrison from the right found Mykolenko who smashed a tremendous volley that Vicario parried while the referee blew for a free kick to Spurs for a foul by DCL.

At the interval, the Blues trailed to the brace from Richarlison but, they’d shown from a succession of crosses and corners that Spurs were fragile at the back.

Half Time: 1-2

No changes by either manager for the start of the second half with news coming in that the Everton goal had been awarded to Jack Harrison for his slight deflection on the header by DCL.

Udogie went down early in the second half as Everton won a corner that was defended. Some excellent play from Garner came to nothing as the ball went out of play but, the midfielder was certainly putting himself about and looked to be enjoying the challenge presented by Spurs. Maddison went down claiming a hand to the face by Gana Gueye before Pickford dived to his left to push a shot from Porro away for a corner that the Blues defended.

Spurs got another corner as Tarkowski blocked a cross from Maddison and Gana Gueye couldn’t keep it in play, the corner reaching Hojbjerg who saw his wild effort fly miles wide. A fine ball by Godfrey for Harrison saw Van de Ven stretch his legs to get back and concede a corner that saw Vicario confidently claim. Pickford denied Werner found by Maddison and when Richarlison tried to get to the rebound, the tackle by Tarkowski saw him hurt and then the offside flag went up against Werner… it’s only a matter of time before this insane offside late flagging rule results in a serious injury.

An excellent clearance by Godfrey denied Werner from getting on the end of a cross from Johnson, Everton defending the resulting corner. Another cross by Johnson saw Godfrey head only as far as Maddison who hit a shot that Pickford pushed away. Everton responded with Young releasing Godfrey and he looked to have won a corner only for the linesman to signal goal kick much to the disgust of the home crowd.

Passing the hour mark and Everton needed something to lift them, Spurs having had the better of the half so far. Young remonstrated with the officials after he was held by Udogie and Werner kicked the ball away and Spurs made a double change with Sarr and Kulusevski replacing Bentancur and Johnson respectively on 64 minutes.

Godfrey got back to foil Maddison and appeared to be caught by Richarlison as Tarkowski conceded a corner that was defended. A needless foul by Gana Gueye on Hojbjerg gave the visitors an easy chance to clear their end of the field and Kulusevski found Richarlison for a shot that Pickford saved well and Mykolenko hooked the loose ball to safety.

Twenty minutes to play and Spurs were still looking the more likely to add to their score. Richarlison went down again, caught slightly by the elbow of Tarkowski in an aerial challenge and while he received treatment. Seamus Coleman was the Blues first substitute replacing Ben Godfrey on 75 minutes.

Youssef Chermiti was the Blues second change with ten minutes to play, replacing Ashley Young as Everton looked to try and mount a grandstand finish, Garner finding Coleman to win a corner on the right that Vicario claimed under no pressure – bizarre considering how much pressure Everton had placed him under in the first half.

Beto and Lewis Dobbin replaced DCL and Dwight McNeil on 85 minutes while Spurs withdrew Maddison and Werner for Gil and Skipp. It was kitchen sink time now for the Blues and a great ball in from Dobbin found Chermiti all alone and he saw a close range effort saved by Vicario. Spurs made another change with Dragusin replacing Hojbjerg on 89 minutes.

Dobbin won a free kick that Pickford launched down field but Spurs cleared as a minimum of seven added minutes was announced and a cross from Harrison saw Beto go down appealing for a penalty that the referee and VAR were having nothing of. James Garner saw yellow for speaking out of turn to the referee before a through ball by IGG for Beto saw the Portuguese again take a tumble bringing howls of appeals for a penalty that he turned away, and he booked Sean Dyche for voicing his opinion too vociferously.

Incredibly, from a free kick deep into added-on time, the cross from Garner flicked off the head of Romero and Jarrad Branthwaite arriving at the back post forced it home for his first goal at the Grand Old Lady. Goodison erupted, VAR reviewed and Goodison erupted again as the goal was confirmed.

Porro headed a deep cross from Tarkowski clear and Skipp blocked a cross from Mykolenko before Dobbin was carded for a foul on Dragusin despite having taken the ball first.

At the final whistle, an enthralling and entertaining (for the neutral observer) game ended all square and the Blues moved out of the bottom three, even if only temporarily.

Full Time: 2-2

My Cart Close (×)

Your cart is empty
Browse Shop