23/12/2023 0comments  |  Jump to last
Tottenham 2 - 1 Everton

André Gomes's first Everton goal for two years set up a grandstand finish but the Blues couldn't force home the equaliser

Everton were left to rue a couple of uncharacteristic defensive lapses, a hatful of missed chances at the other end and a disallowed goal as they fell just short of wiping out Tottenham’s 2-0 half-time lead.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin had a goal chalked off following a VAR review before André Gomes’s fine finish in the 82nd minute made it 2-1 and set up a grandstand finish but Arnaut Danjuma was denied by Guglielmo Vicario and the crossbar in the closing stages.

Despite Everton making a strong start, Spurs had roared into a 2-0 lead before 20 minutes had elapsed, taking advantage of poor defending by the visitors.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin had been sent away behind the defence by Dwight McNeil but Hueng-Min Son raced back to close him down and blocked his eventual left-footed attempt.

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Two minutes later, the hosts neatly played their way down their right flank before Pape Mate Sarr threaded a pass to Brennan Johnson and his low centre was met first time by Richarlison who had ghosted past James Tarkowski to guide a shot inside the near post before Jordan Pickford had time to properly react.

A near carbon-copy move down the opposite flank almost yielded a second goal three minutes later when Son played Emerson Royal in but Johnson knocked his centre over the crossbar.

Back at the other end, Amadou Onana won the ball strongly in midfield and split the defence to find McNeil but the winger dragged his shot across goal. A minute later, Jarrad Branthwaite fed Vitalii Mykolenko down the left and Calvert-Lewin did well to get ahead of his marker to meet a terrific, whipped cross but Vicario pushed his header away.

Two minutes after that, it was 2-0. Everton’s defence went to sleep at a short corner as Johnson was allowed to waltz into the box between McNeil and Jack Harrison. The Welshman’s powerful strike was beaten away by Pickford but it fell straight to Son who steered it into the empty side of the goal.

Everton lost Idrissa Gueye to injury in the 24th minute, the Senegalese replaced by Gomes and Onana was booked for bundling Emerson over as Sean Dyche’s men showed signs of imploding but with Spurs constantly playing themselves into trouble, they would be given plenty of opportunities to get back into things before half-time.

Time and again, though, the execution in the final third was found wanting. Gomes had a chance to put Calvert-Lewin into the clear from another turnover of possession but passed it straight to a white jersey, James Garner despatched a half-volley from 25 yards that was comfortably caught by the keeper and a Calvert-Lewin cut-back from the byline was skied into the stands.

Mykolenko then found himself open at the far side of the box but a second ball thrown from the stands put him off his shot and it flashed well wide, Garner had another effort that lacked the power to beat Vicario at his near post and Harrison also failed to put enough behind his best opening of the half.

The Toffees thought they were back in the contest six minutes into the second period when Gomes won the ball off Emerson, played a superbly-weighted pass behind the defence for Calvert-Lewin who stroked a lovely finish across the keeper and into the far corner. To Dyche’s disgust, however, VAR Michael Oliver sent referee Stuart Attwell to the pitch-side monitor where he adjudged the Portuguese to have fouled the Brazilian full-back.

Sarr forced a parrying save from Pickford shortly afterwards, Tarkowski made a superb covering tackle to deny the Senegal midfielder and Pickford made an equally impressive one-handed stop to divert Dejan Kulusevski’s shot behind after the Swede had out-muscled Nathan Patterson but otherwise it was all Everton from then on.

Garner clipped the post with a skidding shot across goal, Mykolenko had a shot blocked when a clearance from a corner fell to him near the penalty spot and Gomes hammered an effort into the side-netting that appeared to take a decisive deflection off a defender’s boot.

Beto replaced Onana with 11 minutes to go and three minutes after that, it was 2-1. Danjuma, a 66th-minute introduction for Harrison, had had a charged down for a corner by Eric Dier and when the resulting set-piece cleared everyone and fell to Gomes in the back of the area, he fired a lovely, crisp shot back across Vicario and into the far corner.

Just two minutes later, a wonderful McNeil pass put Danjuma in down the Everton left but with Beto open in the centre he went for goal himself and forced an excellent save from the keeper. From that corner, Tarkowski’s goal-bound header was stopped by Davies but deep into stoppage time, two more chances would fall to Danjuma.

The Dutchman went it alone again from a similar position as his first two chances but fired over and then, at the death, he was picked out by a flighted delivery from McNeil but his far-post volley came off the underside of the crossbar, bounced off the keeper’s thigh and was cleared. The goal-line decision system would show that the ball had stayed out by a mere two inches.

The result means that Everton’s four-game winning streak, both in the Premier League and in matches in London, came to a shuddering halt. Victories for Burnley and Luton mean that two of the Blues’ relegation rivals made up ground below this weekend but Nottingham Forest’s home defeat to Bournemouth keeps them in the dogfight near the bottom.

 


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