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Everton 2-2 Tottenham: Match Report & Instant Reaction | Branthwaite’s late equalizer rescues a point

The Toffees’ defiance and determination should have given them a win but for suspect finishing and a Richarlison brace

FBL-ENG-PR-EVERTON-TOTTENHAM Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

The winter transfer winter came and went with only one senior player, Mason Holgate, heading for the exit which had to be seen as a positive for the club. Losing more players, and some of our more important ones, such as Doucoure, Onana and Branthwaite would have been catastrophic.

The last four matches between these teams had ended in draws and the last time Everton won this fixture at home, Richarlison scored twice for the Toffees in an FA Cup fifth round match that ended 5-4 after extra-time.

So today, the team focused on the visit of Tottenham and a return for Richy. Many hoped it would be a sentimental day of remembrance and not another moment when they regretted letting go of another gem.

Team News

Idrissa Gueye was straight back into the starting lineup following his return from the Africa Cup of Nations to help ease Everton’s injury problems in central midfield. Seamus Coleman, Amadou Onana and Arnaut Danjuma were all assessed before the match with only Coleman making the bench. Abdoulaye Doucoure and Andre Gomes continued to be missing from the match day squad.

Tottenham made two changes following their 3-2 win against Brentford during the week. Pierre-Emile Hojberg and Brennan Johnson were given starts, with Oliver Skipp and Dejan Kulusevski dropping to the bench. Son Heung-min and Yves Bissouma remained on international duty.

Match Review

Michael Oliver blew his whistle to get the lunchtime match kicked off with Everton kicking towards The Park End. Tottenham took a couple of minutes to get control of the ball and it took just one more minute for Udogie to get wide and put the ball into the path of Richarlison who turned the ball into the roof of the net. A fine finish from a fine player who then respectfully touched his hand to his chest as he bowed his head to the Gwladys Street End.

Everton FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Everton quickly marched down the field and a cross in from Harrison was met by Calvert-Lewin whose header went over the bar. The travelling Spurs supporters had their voices raised as Goodison reflected on the worst possible start. That could have gotten worse when James Maddison took a shot that deflected just wide of the post.

Everton FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

The tenth minute arrived and the yellow cards of protest were raised as one. A corner from Dwight McNeil was delivered but James Tarkowski could not distract Vicario enough as the keeper punched the ball clear. Moments later Jordan Pickford whipped a ball forward which was beautifully controlled by Calvert-Lewin but the ball to Garner didn’t connect. Everton started to get more control of the ball and the Goodison crowd awoke.

A nice move from Everton ended with an offside call but their intent was encouraging. DCL was put into the clear by Gueye but the flag was up again. Everton were getting into lots of goods positions but their last pass was not good enough.

A fifth corner was whipped in by McNeil and met by Tarkowski who headed it back into the middle and it was Dominic Calvert Lewin who stooped down to score. A ninth goal from a corner and a great way to celebrate his 200th senior match. Vicario was standing with his arms out wide wondering why there wasn’t a foul. Oliver saw nothing in it and VAR agreed. However, it was also determined that the header had deflected off Jack Harrison so the goal drought for Calvert Lewin continued.

FBL-ENG-PR-EVERTON-TOTTENHAM Photo by PAUL ELLIS/AFP via Getty Images

The goal lifted the crowd and the players whose work rate increased and the crowd were loving it. McNeil was regularly charging through the middle and creating difficulties for Spurs. Everton’s industry was reducing Tottenham’s talent but it was the talent of Richarlison that reared its ugly head again as the Brazilian curled the ball into the top corner, giving Pickford no chance.

Everton FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Everton did not let the goal lower their determination and Calvert Lewin was more involved than he had been for a while. Another corner saw Vicario scrambling and Ben Godfrey was denied by the keeper at point blank range. As five minutes of added time was announced, Everton had another corner which was creating havoc but no goal that time. Michael Oliver had seen enough and his whistle ended the half.

Everton ended the half with an xG of 1.22 and Tottenham had an xG of 0.66. Everton had registered double the amount of shots (eight) compared to Tottenham. Although, the difference was that three of Spurs’ four attempts were on target, as opposed to just two from eight for the hosts. With six corners in the half, Everton had to hope that they could continue to create havoc and goals in the second half.

The second half kicked off and Everton started fast and were happy to press high up the pitch with James Garner leading the charge. Twice, Everton lobbed the ball over the top but Calvert Lewin and Harrison could not get the ball under control. It was Pedro Porro who had the first shot of the half and he forced Pickford into a very good save.

Everton FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

VAR checked a possible mugging by James Garner in the box but it was deemed to be nothing. Moments later Harrison was off again and it was only the incredible speed of Van de Ven that snuffed out the chance. Another late offside call by the assistant referee saw Richarlison end up in a heap in the Everton box as he went in with Tarkowski to get the rebound.

The long ball over the top was being used by both teams and it was only another last second tackle from Godfrey denied Timo Werner. It was then Pickford who denied Maddison who lashed a shot towards the far corner. Ben Godfrey went in Michael Oliver’s book for dissent.

It was Tottenham who made the first change with Pape Sarr and Kulusevski coming on for Bentancour and Johnson. Michael Oliver was not making any friends with the Everton faithful as he was denying fouls for the home side and giving calls to the visitors. The tension around the ground was very clear.

Everton FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Godfrey had been caught by Richarlison a few minutes earlier and it was clear he was not going to be able to continue which brought on Seamus Coleman. Could he spark a resurgence as he did in his first match for Everton against Tottenham 13 years ago?

Ashley Young was withdrawn with Youseff Chermiti coming on to take his place next to Calvert Lewin. It was nice to see him given a chance. Dyche clearly saw the need to get something from the game as he brought on both Beto and Dobbin in place of Calvert Lewin and McNeil. This was countered by Spurs who brought on Skipp and Gil for Werner and Maddison.

Everton FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The final five minutes arrived and the game was getting choppy as Spurs used every trick to slow the game down. Dobbin wanted to affect the game and he twice made runs at the Spurs backline. It was then a great ball from Dobbin into Chermiti who redirected the ball but Vicario got down to prevent the goal. Hojberg was withdrawn for Dragusin who was sent on to shut things down.

Beto was down on the floor in the box and was Dragusin who had pushed him down. VAR denied the penalty as seven minutes of added time was announced. Defiance and delight followed as another free kick was whipped in and Romero flicked the ball which Jarrad Branthwaite then bravely headed past a flailing Vicario.

Everton FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The ending was a scramble with Everton piling forward for the victory. Lewis Dobbin received a yellow card for his efforts and the game eventually was ended by Michael Oliver’s whistle. Goodison was fully behind the team who showed determination and fight which is the expectation of the supporters every game.

Man of the Match - James Garner was back in his central midfield role and he was the lead disrupter who stopped Tottenham from getting into their free flowing football. He had 68 touches, 83% passing accuracy, 4 tackles and 1 interception. It was his work, determination and leadership that led the way for the fight back.

Instant Reaction

When Richarlison arrived at Goodison, he was a raw talent who grew as a player and added determination and fight to his CV. Throughout his time at the club he was revered for his commitment to the club and the team. In the 4 matches he has played against Everton he has scored five times. Today, his quality was the difference in another game from which Everton deserved more. We ended up with a point where three was more reflective of the match. The game ended with Everton having an xG of 2.5 compared to Spurs who only had an xG of 0.91.

Calvert Lewin didn’t score today, although I would argue he was only denied that goal by the left leg of Harrison who knew nothing about his touch on the ball. The effort and the endeavour was there today for everyone to see and Dyche will no doubt give him the plaudits that he deserved for his work. We scored for the first time in 6 hours and Calvert Lewin’s goal will come soon.

Evertonians around the world have a collective chip on our shoulder because of a perceived bias against the club. Today, it was a challenge on Beto who was on the ground on two occasions with no call. In the end it was Dyche who received the yellow card. The second goal came moments after these calls and the Evertonians around the ground had a defiant celebration that was deserved. And we’ll fight, fight, fight, with all our might for the lads in the Royal Blue jersey. Manchester City up next and let’s get another draw like last year!