Tottenham Hotspur 2 - 1 Everton

The wind howled against my window as I got out of bed at around 5.30 am for the 6.30 am bus over to Liverpool to get the train from Liverpool Lime Street at 7.40 am.

We ran into another mate, Stewart, on the bus, and there were a few other young lads onboard who got off the bus at Claughton to aboard the Happy Al's coach, which was also shortly departing to London for the game.

The train left on schedule and I fuelled up with a coffee, and as we got closer to London, a quick tinnie, before arriving in London Euston at around 10 am. 

As Chris and Michael seldom miss an away game, they are by now well drilled on where to go for food and drink off the beaten track a bit away from the stadium. First we grabbed some cheap and cheerful breakfast from Speedy's Cafe near Euston Station, before boarding the tube to Aldgate East where first we visited Classic Football Shirts, a nice store which has a fabulous selection of random official football shirts from all over the world - Chris even found a retro One to One Everton shirt with No 15 Materazzi on the reverse. There is also a bar at the store, and after a little nosey around, we grabbed a pint and were joined by Leslie.

We then took the short walk along Brick Lane, and headed up towards Commercial Street, grabbing a quick one in The Golden Heart; and then the quite brilliant The Ten Bells. Brilliant because it has quite the selection of ales; and has a square bar layout which feels very old fashioned.

At around 2 pm we made the short hop on the train from Liverpool Street and soon arrived at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. I'd only previously visited White Hart Lane so it was my first visit to their newer stadium. As everyone who's visited will already have told you no doubt, it's very impressive, both in facilities and appearance. My seat was down near the corner flag. The teams came out, Everton reverting to our back four, with Michael Keane dropping out and Vitalii Mykolenko returning to left back following his recent injury. Richarlison appeared in Tottenham Hotspur' front line.

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A young lad was stood on his seat in front of me. He appeared to suffer from a mild disability,  and as he stood with his arm around his father, it was truly heartwarming to see how much his father cared for him, and his son reciprocally. Some moments just stay with you.

Everton had begun the game well enough, though were undone from a good ball in from Brennan Johnson, with old-boy Richarlison nipping in ahead of James Tarkowski to slot well past Jordan Pickford.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin twice came close to levelling the scores. First with a header that was kept out by Guglielmo Vicario, and then he was thwarted by a decent block after being played through on goal. He perhaps might have done better with the second opportunity, and shortly after we rued it when Heung-Min Son scored on the rebound from Jordan Pickford's parry. 

It was frustrating up until now as we'd been in the game, but were undone with clinical finishing from top strikers. Perhaps that was the stark contrast between the two teams, though it certainly wasn't from shortage of effort from Everton.

Rewind 21 months and we were similarly 0-2 down to Tottenham Hotspur after 18 minutes, wilted pathetically and got hammered 0-5. The difference between that performance and this was night and day. Everton gathered resolve, and went about finding a way back into the game.

At half time, while Leslie and I swigged a pint each of Neck Oil, we felt very unfortunate not to have one goal back at least, and felt very much we were in the game, and that if we get the next goal, we could well get one more. Chances came and went in that first half, but the effort and application from the team offered plenty of encouragement. On 24 minutes, Sean Dyche was forced into a change when Idrissa Gueye was forced from the field with injury. Being 0-2 behind I was advocating to get Arnaut Djanjuma onto the pitch and further upfield with James Garner dropping back into central midfield.

While James did drop back, Andre Gomes, in his first Everton appearance for 19 months, played a bit further forward, and, particularly having been out of the picture for such a very long time, produced an impactful display which really impressed. 

In the second half, we was really on song. The next goal was the most important one, and aware of this, Everton continued to press forward to get back in the game. It was always a risk that we would leave ourselves a little too open in doing so, though Tottenham Hotspur only really got behind us the once, and Jordan was equal to that.

At the other end, Everton continued to create chances, and had the ball in the net before the hour mark following a lovely finish from Dominic Calvert-Lewin. We celebrated, though as Emerson Royal remained in a heap on the floor, you couldn't help but be concerned with what was to come.

And sure enough Stuart Attwell was sent to the monitor to go through the motions of looking at the screen before obviously drawing an imaginary rectangle and awarding a free kick to Tottenham Hotspur. Despite moments earlier rolling around in clear agony, Emerson was soon up and about without a hitch.

Having seen it since, I have to agree with Sean Dyche. Had the free kick been awarded in real time, I suppose you would have no complaints, such was the pathetically low bar Stuart Attwell had set throughout the game with the amount of contact required to constitute a foul and free kick to Tottenham Hotspur. Though with the free kick not being awarded, I don't really see why Michael Oliver had to get involved in this and find a reason to rule out the goal.

Good on the players for being undeterred by this, as they kept on going. Given my position, I hadn't realised that James Garner's drive had hit the post and not flashes just wide. That was a close one.

And on 66 minutes, Arnaut Djanjuma was introduced and made a positive impact. I've heard some people complain about his selfishness within the team, though attackers tend to be like this and without a run of consistent games, it will continue to be difficult to expect so much from him every time he takes to the field. 

On 82 minutes we finally made the breakthrough via the unlikely source of Andre Gomes who struck a delicouslly controlled half-volley in the corner of the net following a deep corner kick. And with the eight remaining minutes, plus another six to come, you dared to dream of sharing the spoils.

And we couldn't have come any closer, all three times from Arnaut. His first effort was brilliantly saved by Vicario; the second slightly unlucky; and the third, inexplicably coming down off the underside of the bar and as it was about to crash over the goal line, struck the knee of the unwitting Vicario. and somehow stayed out.

We couldn't tell quite how close this was at the time, and with the offside flag being raised by the linesman, assumed it would not have counted anyway. It's only having seen it since I realise how unlucky we were.

When Jordan miskicked a pass to Nathan Patterson you knew the game was up and at full time we applauded the lads for a brilliant effort before setting off on the quite lengthy walk to Seven Sisters. When we finally got onto the tube back towards Euston Station, a few Tottenham Hotspur supporters spoke to us to tell us how well Everton had played that day, and that no team had pushed them that hard this season. For supporters to do that is a real measure of how well we performed.

The train back was delayed about 30 minutes and overcrowded. Thankfully I ran into Stewart, who I'd seen much earlier in the day on the bus into Liverpool who was sat with a few other Evertonians. Though I couldn't get a seat, I could hover around there and enjoy a few beers in good company. It was actually a really good laugh travelling back.

Arriving back at Lime Street, as is custom, a bit of jip is given to any out-of-towner Liverpudlians with their big scarves awaiting trains heading out of the city. While I don't partake in this ritual myself it always brings a smile.

And with a few farewell handshakes and Christmas well-wishes to the other Toffees, Stu and I were back on the bus, where it all begun at 6.30 am in the morning.

It was an outstanding effort from our boys. We all know that if we keep at this standard of effort and output, the only way is up. Well done lads, you really made us proud.

My man of the match: James Tarkowski, though it could have been many of them in truth.

Happy Christmas Evertonians. Good times are ahead.

Reader Comments (19)

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Derek Thomas
1 Posted 24/12/2023 at 21:28:55
If the football fates had smiled upon us, it might have finished 3-5.

Spurs would've whinged and moaned... much like us...but they really couldn't complain.

Sometimes they go in and count - sometimes they don't.

Merry Christmas Paul, keep up the good work, you're a worthy successor to 'the view from my seat'

Paul Kossoff
2 Posted 24/12/2023 at 23:47:27
Paul thanks for sharing your day. How many pints did you have? I used to like a pint or two when I was a lad but if I had a sip of a watered down half of lager now I would be leaving the rest, and don't mention the bar maids apron.
Happy Christmas all, and good health.🎅🎄✝️
Danny O’Neill
3 Posted 25/12/2023 at 06:38:25
They played well Paul and deserved something from that. Not to be, but we can't knock the effort and performance. The last time I was the 5 - 0 thumping last year. Not pleasant.

On we go to face Manchester City. We are a match for anyone when we perform.

Nice touch by Richarlison.

Have a Royal Blue Christmas.

Alan J Thompson
4 Posted 25/12/2023 at 06:39:05
Derek (#1);

If the fates had been smiling on us then at 3-5 we would have gone all the way, 4-10, Richarlison doing a Jimmy Harris.

Tony Abrahams
5 Posted 25/12/2023 at 07:59:01
A good story, Paul, but traveling to London, on the train for any Everton away game, is nearly always a great day.

How I miss getting off at Lime Street, to the familiar sound of EV-ER-TON, reverberating all around the station, with a noise that would always grow louder, as more and more people got off the train.

A simple memory, but something I will always cherish, especially because it's one of the few memories that never seems to fade!

I never watched the game, but my iPad told me we were two down early, and because I didn't fancy us to get anything out of the game (because I thought we had a few tired legs, that having a small squad brings) I was expecting that this might have been a game too far.

My iPad told me Everton had scored, but not disallowed, but then it told me that we had scored again, and so I put Everton on the telly, and couldn't believe how much energy we had in the team.

I watched fifteen minutes of pure attacking intent, that definitely should have got us a couple of goals, only for a world class save, another fluke of a save that the keeper knew nothing about, and maybe Danjouma also making the wrong choice, on another occasion, but I would never criticize a player who was so lively, and just hope he can replicate this type of attacking endeavor, which might even be enough to get him in the starting eleven?

Our team is finally showing heart though and this is something that gives us all a bit more hope. Merry Xmas💙

Jerome Shields
6 Posted 25/12/2023 at 09:09:25
The basis of a good team is there. They are fitter and better prepared. There were errors in defence that lead to the first goal. Not being able to put away chances is a problem. Dyche did use the subs well.

I would urge caution regarding Gomes. He will put in a performance like that, when the opposition are not prepared for him. If they are prepared he can be the complete opposite. Impact sub at best. I would mix him up a bit with 5 game Dele Alli.

Merry Xmas.

Tony Abrahams
7 Posted 25/12/2023 at 09:16:22
If I was involved in football nowadays, Jerome, then with five substitutions now available to use, I would definitely be looking to bring a couple of what you describe as impact subs into my squad.

Subs are so important nowadays and should no longer be undervalued like they might have been years ago.

Peter Moore
8 Posted 25/12/2023 at 09:24:21
Merry Christmas to all Toffees.
May 2024 be a year of growth and renewal for EFC.
Dave Abrahams
9 Posted 25/12/2023 at 09:29:48

I always enjoy your posts and how you and your friends begin and end your days out following the Blues plus your description of the game. I too was proud of this performance and how unlucky were not to get a point at least, also aggravated by the referee on the field and more so by Michael Oliver in a studio far away getting involved when it wasn't necessary, brings the corrupt nature of the game into mind.

Finally, I agree, there could have been a few contenders for MotM with Gomes standing out but your choice of Tarkowski was also mine. This an outstanding performance to add to the many he has performed this season, a man who puts his body on the line for the Blues in every game.

He does a captain's job and urges all the team to do the same in a quiet way and shows a great example of how to play that way.

I don't want to tempt fate but we would be lost without him more than any other player.

Ray Roche
10 Posted 25/12/2023 at 09:32:39
Peter @8
And Best Wishes to you and yours, and to ToffeeWebbers and Blue Boys (and girls!) everywhere, a peaceful time.🙏
Dave Williams
11 Posted 25/12/2023 at 09:59:01
Dave A- what an accurate post about Tarks- he epitomises everything about our team and to lose him would be a dreadful blow.
Things are looking brighter- have a great day everyone!
Bill Griffiths
12 Posted 25/12/2023 at 09:59:57
Merry Christmas to ToffeeWebber's everywhere.

Looking forward to a victory on Wednesday night.

Dave Abrahams
13 Posted 25/12/2023 at 11:05:15
Dave (11),

Merry Christmas and a Happy, Healthy New Year to Blues everywhere, especially to fans like yourself Dave travelling miles all over the place even to home games.

As you say - things are starting to look a bit brighter.

John Raftery
14 Posted 25/12/2023 at 11:42:15
Happy Christmas, Paul.

When the second Spurs goal went in after 18 minutes, it was a reminder of previous capitulations in north London. I must admit I feared the worst. This time it was very different because our team dug in for 10 minutes and then had the better of the last hour.

I always worry when we have a senior referee, especially Oliver and Taylor, as the VAR. They always feel obliged to interfere and the referee on the pitch will always feel obliged defer to them. That's what happened on Saturday.

The VAR is a curse on the elite game. It is the one issue on which I completely disagree with Sean Dyche when he says he loves it. I have yet to meet a match-going fan who loves it.

Ged Simpson
15 Posted 25/12/2023 at 11:56:28
In Lanzarote. The 20th year on the run we have avoided Morecome and Wise, some Windsor blathering on, and a Stricktly Torture Xmas special.

Cannot speak much Spanish but locals here understood my hatred of the VAR!

In this season of goodwill, I wish the VARs an unhealthy, unlucky and ultimately unprofitable 2024.

You lot?

Hope 2024 brings what you hope for and at least 5 points returned.

Paul Birmingham
16 Posted 25/12/2023 at 12:35:27
Merry Christmas to all Evertonians, and "Things can only get Beto".

Proud of the fight and spirit, belief and skill, Sean Dyche and his staff have instilled into this squad.

Great to behold.

All have a Ball!

Dave Evans
17 Posted 25/12/2023 at 21:15:26
Enjoyed the report, Paul. All we can ask for is a 100% from the team.

Happy New Year to us all.

Rob Jones
18 Posted 26/12/2023 at 03:36:14

I suspect that Dyche is being politically savvy when he says he loved the VAR. Most of us feel similarly about the VAR, that it's a nuisance, poorly implemented, inconsistent, and that it's been detrimental to both the game and the standard of refereeing.

Niall McIlhone
19 Posted 26/12/2023 at 07:36:16
Really good matchday report there, Paul, and on the VAR, I share John's (#14) frustration completely.

On a slight tangent, I happened upon the loathsome Daily Mail online this morning; as I am sure all Toffees are aware, this rag has an agenda against our club. Either coverage of Everton is minimal, or it is sensationalist, hyping up threats of administration or further points deductions, or huge fines arising from lawsuits brought by other aggrieved clubs. It really is a very poor sports desk they are running there.

Today's online edition has seven or eight leading articles on the Radcliffe story at Man Utd, and a singular, modest article on André Gomes's return to the team. Puts it in perspective.

The fact is that only continued delivery on the field of play and (hopefully) new ownership and a new board will re- establish our club's reputation. It may take 3-5 years. We must give Sean Dyche a decent contract to see this through.

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