Coleman and Gibson spark last-gasp glory for Everton
Published 10/12/2012 | 05:00
The sight of the the Salvation Army band lugging their instruments up Gwladys Street to provide the pre-match entertainment suggested redemption was on its way to Goodison Park. It took a long time coming.
After 89 minutes, David Moyes' team were heading for a defeat that would have stretched their winless streak to five games and deepened the manager's sense of injustice.
Instead, two goals in 88 seconds – from Steven Pienaar and Nikica Jelavic – left Goodison and its blue Santa leaping to the strains of Slade, and lifted Everton above their visitors into the Champions League places.
For Moyes it felt like a reversal of fortune in a season dominated by draws and dogged by refereeing decisions.
For Tottenham and their coach there was the familiar sensation of an opportunity spurned and a fourth consecutive league win tossed away.
Andre Villas-Boas' side have now conceded 10 goals in the last 15 minutes of matches – a failing that has cost them 14 points – and left the manager facing lingering questions about his ability to marshall his resources.
Spurs had taken the lead with just 14 minutes to play through Clint Dempsey's deflected strike from 20 yards, and almost went 2-0 up when Gylfi Sigurdsson hit the crossbar from similar range. Once again, however, they could not turn an opportunistic lead into points.
The dramatic finale had looked unlikely for most of a game in which neither side were able to convert possession into chances. Everton were the better side but were sloppy in the final third, while Spurs were clearly blunted by Gareth Bale's absence.
Referee Kevin Friend turned down a decent penalty claim when Pienaar's drive cannoned off William Gallas' upper arm.
Moyes did not wait to put his grievances in writing, challenging Friend from the technical area.
The equaliser came as the clock ticked into the 90th minute and was made by Seamus Coleman, who carried a threat on Everton's right flank all afternoon without producing the final pass.
At the last, the Donegal man found it. Fed by Steven Naismith, he stood the ball up for Pienaar, whose stooping header gave Hugo Lloris in the Spurs goal no chance.
The fourth official had barely lowered the board displaying four minutes of added-time when the winner came.
Darron Gibson, returning after three months out, steered in a cross that caused chaos in the Spurs box and Jelavic applied a slick finish. (© Daily Telegraph, London)