Tottenham Hotspur rescued a point with a late equalizer at White Hart Lane today to keep Everton at arm’s length in the chase for a Champions League place.
Spurs started and ended well. The middle? Not so much.
Emmanuel Adebayor gave the home team the lead from close range after only 33 seconds but Phil Jagielka drew Everton level 15 minutes later with a downward header from a Leighton Baines corner.
The rest of the first half didn’t live up to the promise of that dramatic beginning, but the visitors went ahead eight minutes into the second period with a fine goal from Kevin Mirallas, who turned Steven Caulker and shot low past Hugo Lloris.
The wailing sound audible across north London at that point was the Spurs panic alarm, set off by the prospect of sixth-placed Everton claiming a win that would have left them three points behind their opponents with a game in hand. Oh, and by the way, Tottenham still have to play Manchester City and Chelsea.
So, Andre Villas-Boas’ men needed a goal pretty badly, and they were without the services of injured talisman Gareth Bale.
Late pressure paid off as Adebayor was carelessly left free inside the area to curl a shot off Tim Howard’s left-hand post, and the rebound fell kindly for Gylfi Sigurdsson to steer the ball into the empty net. Credit to Clint Dempsey for dummying Kyle Walker’s cross and helping confuse the defense.
That was in the 87th minute, yet there was still time for an Everton line-up missing Marouane Fellaini to go close several times on the counter-attack, with Lloris pulling off a vital stop from Victor Anichebe.