Friday 15 November 2019

Howard delivers goalkeeping masterclass for tenacious Toffees to keep Tottenham at bay


Tim Howard denied Tottenham their first 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 off 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-hand 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. 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 with 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.

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.

Elsewhere, Stoke boss Mark Hughes questioned the decision-making of referee Michael Oliver and his officials after the Potters were reduced to nine men in their 1-0 home loss to West Brom.

Ibrahim Afellay was the first player dismissed, sent off in the 25th minute after he was brought down by Craig Gardner. Touched on the face by his hand, Afellay reacted by flicking his own hand into the face of Gardner, with Oliver then showing a red card to the former and a yellow to the latter.

Six minutes later, Charlie Adam was also the recipient of a straight red card having floored Craig Dawson with a challenge before appearing to stand on his leg, right in front of the assistant referee.

Hughes, whose side remain without a Premier League win this season, said after the match: "With the first red card, it is that old thing, the letter of the law - if you raise your hands, then you have to go.

"But if that is the case, both the players should have gone, because Afellay would not have reacted how he did unless something had gone on, and having seen the replay, Gardner has scraped his face - that is why he reacted as he did.

"So they missed that, but the officials missed quite a lot today, to be perfectly honest.

"With the second one, Charlie has gone over to try to block a ball into our box, the lad (Dawson) has wrapped his legs around Charlie and I think at one point kicked him up the backside. So Charlie is unbalanced and has come down and stepped on his leg.

"Whether it is deliberate, you will have to ask Charlie because I haven't spoken to him about it. But at that point, I think common sense should have prevailed.

"The referee should have just taken a big, deep breath and thought about the game itself and all the people here hoping to see a good football match."

Callum Wilson was on target for Bournemouth again in the 1-1 home draw with Leicester, following his hat-trick at West Ham.

Wilson's overhead kick put Bournemouth ahead midway through the first half but the Cherries, who had £8m summer signing Tyrone Mings carried off on a stretcher after the break, were pegged back by Jamie Vardy's penalty four minutes from time. Eddie Howe felt his side were physiologically affected by Mings' harrowing injury. He was left writhing in agony after a collision with Leicester's Danny Drinkwater just five minutes into his debut.

"It is quite strange that you see players go off in that manner in the same position, the same side of the pitch," Howe said. "It restricted us tactically and also from the guys' perspective to see their team-mate stretchered off. They are so tight here that it is a difficult one psychologically to handle.

"Tyrone didn't look good and seeing him in that much pain isn't nice to see, and Max also knew pretty early that he had a serious one there and any knee injury is worrying so concerns for all three players tonight."

Mings, who was not taken to hospital, tweeted "If carlsberg did debuts, it definitely wouldn't go like this! Thankyou for all your kind messages #afcb and #itfc".

Aston Villa and Sunderland shared the points in a 2-2 draw after summer signing Yann M'Vila had given the Black Cats an early lead.

Scott Sinclair added to his Capital One Cup hat-trick in midweek with a double, one a penalty, to give Villa a half-time lead, but Jeremain Lens equalised for Sunderland seven minutes after the break to give Dick Advocaat's side only their second point of the season.

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