Tim Howard's heroics earn Everton point in goalless draw at winless Tottenham
Published 29/08/2015 | 19:39
Tim Howard denied Tottenham their first Barclays Premier League win of the season with a string of superb saves that enabled Everton to leave White Hart Lane with a goalless draw.
Harry Kane, Ryan Mason and Toby Alderweireld were kept at bay by Howard in the first half, although Kane should have finished his one on one with the American goalkeeper.
Spurs, who named Erik Lamela on the bench, only had themselves to blame for not grabbing all three points in a dominant second half that saw chance after chance squandered.
Both sides had a player carried from the pitch on a stretcher, Everton's Tom Cleverley in clear pain after being felled by Eric Dier and Mousa Dembele following a bizarre self-inflicted injury.
Tottenham's dominance was apparent early on as Nacer Chadli dazzled down the left, teeing up Nabil Bentaleb only to see a tame shot scuffed wide of the right post.
There was panic in the Spurs defence when Kyle Walker gave the ball away to Cleverley and it took a fine save by Hugo Lloris to keep out the ensuing shot.
Everton should have slipped behind in the 24th minute but Howard stuck out his left leg to stop Kane, who only had the visiting keeper to beat after collecting a superb pass by Mason.
It was then Mason who was denied by Howard, with Chadli the provider once more and the American then steered an Alderweireld header over the crossbar.
Cleverley went down under a heavy tackle by Dier, his right ankle caught between the legs of the Spurs defender, and he was carried from the pitch his injured leg in a brace.
Somehow Everton cleared their lines despite being repeatedly bamboozled by the quick feet of Dembele, but then the Belgium playmaker became the second player to be taken away by medics.
Even upon viewing replays it was unclear exactly how Dembele had been hurt, although his right boot appeared to clip his left Achilles after passing the ball in what was a self-inflicted injury.
Dier had escaped a booking for his tackle on Cleverley but referee Mike Jones reached for the yellow card when he body-checked Ross Barkley.
The pressure was building on Everton's goal and it took some desperate scrambling defence and a skied shot by Chadli to keep the match goalless.
Romelu Lukaku was making his presence felt with a couple of dubious challenges and the visitors could have taken the lead only for Arouna Kone to steer a glancing header wide.
The chances dried up for Spurs in the closing stages, in part thanks to the arrival from the bench of the tenacious Steven Naismith, who brought renewed fight to Everton's rearguard action.
TWEET OF THE MATCH
"Spurs 0-0 Everton. If they had played for another 90 mins it would still be nil nil #GoalShy." - former Newcastle and Coventry striker Micky Quinn was left unimpressed by the two teams.
https://twitter.com/mickquinn1089/status/637692590289235968 - @mickquinn1089
Hugo Lloris: 6 (out of 10)
Kyle Walker: 6
Danny Rose: 5
Toby Alderweireld: 6
Jan Vertonghen: 6
Nabil Bentaleb: 5
Ryan Mason: 5
Harry Kane: 5
Eric Dier: 5
Mousa Dembele: 6
Nacer Chadli: 7
Dele Alli: 5
Alex Pritchard: 5
Tim Howard: 8
John Stones: 6
Phil Jagielka: 6
Bryan Oviedo: 6
Arouna Kone: 6
Romelu Lukaku: 6
Tom Cleverley: 7
James McCarthy: 5
Gareth Barry: 6
Ross Barkley: 7
Seamus Coleman: 6
Kevin Mirallas: 5
Steven Naismith: 7
Gerard Deulofeu: 5
Howard: Kept Everton in the hunt with a string of fine saves in the first half, the pick of which was the outstretched left foot that denied Kane.
MOMENT OF THE MATCH
Kane: Howard will feel pride at the reflexes that prevented Kane from converting a one on one, but the Tottenham striker should really have done better.
VIEW FROM THE BENCH
Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino will view this as two points dropped and cut an increasingly frustrated figure as his side missed chance after chance. Everton rode their luck and Roberto Martinez will see it as a lucky point.
MOAN OF THE MATCH
Four games into the new season and Tottenham are still searching for their first win. The pressure is growing on Pochettino.
WHO'S UP NEXT
Sunderland v Tottenham (Premier League, Sunday 13 September)
Everton v Chelsea (Premier League, Saturday 12 September)
Pochettino was happy with Tottenham's performance but admitted Spurs need to start taking their chances.
He told Sky Sports: "He (Tim Howard) was the clear man of the match. We created a lot of good chances and as a team we were better, but we needed to score.
"I think it is important we showed we are a good team, that we showed character. I am happy with the performance and disappointed with the result."
Martinez was pleased with the point, saying: "It was a really satisfying performance. It was the type of game where you need to adapt early in the season and today was clearly that.
"We had to find character, it was about never giving in, and in spells we looked like we didn't have that sharpness in possession in the opposing half that we normally have, probably due to playing that extra-time game on Wednesday."
On Cleverley's nasty-looking injury, Martinez added: "The doctor is a little bit more positive. It is clearly ligament damage but straight away we thought it could have been something else."