Its 262 miles back from the scrap yard car park right next to Goodison Park to Colchester but it still wasn’t far enough for us to quite understand how we lost the game. As we pulled up on the drive we concluded; this is Tottenham Hotspur and it’s the type of result we specialise in.
You can say what you want about substitutions, formations, managers and individual players we’ve seen it so many times before but have normally not waited till time added on to start throwing it away! MoTD2 was quite helpful in showing the goals in their full glory as we walked back into the house as our seats prevented us from getting a decent view of the action. As the ball rose up in the air it disappeared from view for most of the game and for the winner a post obstructed my view of the overhead kick so all I saw was Lloris diving again and thinking “that’s that then.”
It certainly brought the stadium to life for it had been a little lacking in atmosphere previously but of course he who laughs last laughs longest and we were put to the sword by amongst others a couple of 11 year olds at the final whistle. Earlier the biggest outpouring came following the handballs that never were – clearly not for they never made the MoTD cut. Cue an extended hand ball retort from the Spurs fans which left the locals bemused at best, confused at worst, “they’re funny folk them lot from London.”
However, if Kevin Friend had awarded a penalty for Dempsey’s arm controlling the ball no one would have been surprised and having realised his error given a more dubious appeal against Gallas we could have gone in one down at the break. The fact we didn’t was down to a controlled performance that lacked a final ball to provide a chance in front of goal for us to capitalise upon.
In midfield Dembele and Sandro were providing our defenders with decent protection and forcing Everton to float balls over the top for the front men to chase. Too many times our offside trap caught them out and Lloris was only forced once to charge out of his goal to intercept. We were a little vulnerable again down our left flank with Mirallas putting in some decent work and as the half wore on Baines and Pienaar began linking well.
As the second half began the introduction of Naismith was welcomed for the loss of Mirallas and he immediately missed a chance from which hitting the target was the minimum requirement. Yet even though Everton tried to step it up we didn’t seem in too much difficulty and were able to clear our lines reasonably comfortably.
Then when Dempsey chipped in from outside the box I wasn’t sure it had gone in as the net didn’t appear to ripple much. Clint was delighted as he came across to the Spurs fans and after a difficult period he is starting to look a better prospect though with Adebayor back to full fitness his starting opportunities will be more limited.
This wasn’t the greatest of days for Defoe or Lennon. Apart from a superb interception that robbed JD of a shooting chance in the first half his day was limited to a yellow card for dissent. Lennon fared better but Baines was in top form and handled him well. He made way for Tom Huddlestone who played a more central role and Sigurdsson replaced Dembele who I thought as the game wore on held onto the ball a little too long before trying to release it.
For me Gylfi has been very poor thus far and had his curling shot put the victory beyond doubt it would have been his best moment for us but do he and Tom have the physical presence on the pitch to put fear in the opposition at the end of a game? I’m not convinced by that so is anyone else? Had this game come later and Parker been fit again it might have been a different story.
And so to the fateful 90 seconds. Those at home or with a better view said Lloris called but once more Caulker ignored him. His fluffed clearance came back and was poorly headed by an out of position Vertonghen allowing a crossing opportunity under no pressure and the arrival of Pienaar to beat Lloris at the far post. Should the keeper have saved it? Possibly but by then it was a holocaust of errors…
What followed was typical Tottenham. When a bad goal goes in it often gets followed by a second in quick succession and so it proved once more. A quick throw allowed Gibson to float a hopeful ball towards the box that gets flicked on by an overhead kick allowing Jelavic to react first and nip between Gallas and Walker to prod it home.
So three points becomes none in a minute and irrespective of either sides performance we turned a win into a loss without trying too hard. We’ve done it before; we’ll probably do it again. We have to understand that we have no divine right to win games and that Everton, or whoever we are playing, should throw everything at us until the final whistle in an effort to win but the crowd’s reaction and that of David Moyes made it clear that they had expected a defeat.
So what positives can be drawn? Kyle Walker is starting to look the player of last season and put in a good shift and with the exception of the time added on Gallas and Caulker played well and both made important clearances. Dembele makes the midfield tick and Sandro once again had a good day in the tackle.
One has to ask if Vertonghen gets dragged out of position away from home being either too far forward or away from the line giving our opponents too many chances to cross and I would maybe question Lloris’s instructions in the box. Did Caulker not hear or understand his call?
What I did see during the warm up was Tony Parks and Brad warming up together with the Frenchman nowhere to be seen. When he did come out some minutes later he spoke not a word to them as he caught up his jogging and stretches until Parks spoke to him. He then smiled and joined in with the group but he does look an isolated character.
Since his arrival there have been repeated newspaper talk particularly after an international break and one wonders whether the transfer has gone well for him. I think he will settle and become a good goalkeeper. He rushes off the line effectively and is willing to come for crosses. I not sure about his palming punches but can live with them if they don’t lead to goals.
Don’t get me wrong I am not trying to excuse Caulker and throw blame upon him, far from it but he seems maybe a quiet and reserved guy – not the sort of keeper we are used to in the English league!
So if you’ve not been to Goodison what would you make of it? An old stadium like ours but with much a poorer view of the game. The wooden seats reminded me of the 1970’s footage that gets shown in the opening MoTD titles but the Wall of Fame which stretched all round the ground was impressive. Finally the Christmas card inside the programme was a nice touch, it was a shame that they snatched back the present just as we were starting to unwrap it!