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Everton serve up fitting finale to frustrating season

24/05/2015  Comments (0)  jump
Everton 0 - 1 Tottenham Hotspur

The best chances fell to Kevin Mirallas in the first half of what was a poor display overall

Everton ended a dismal season in apt fashion with a 1-0 defeat to a superior Tottenham side that ensures they finish in the bottom half of the table for the first time in a decade.

Featuring one change from the team that started last weekend's victory at West Ham as Kevin Mirallas replaced the ineligible Aaron Lennon, the Blues were flat and uninspiring in a first half notable for the visitors' control of the contest and some glaring errors from Roberto Martinez's side.

A rare mistake by the otherwise impressive home debutant Brendan Galloway was almost punished by Erik Lamela but Tim Howard made an excellent reflex save before smothering the ball near his goal line in the 17th minute.

The game's only goal arrived seven minutes later, however, when Everton's familiar weakness to deep crosses from the right was ruthlessly exposed by Eric Dier's centre and Harry Kane's simple headed finish ahead of Phil Jagielka.

In between, Mirallas was put in superbly by Ross Barkley but his attempt to place the ball wide of Huge Lloris was weakly struck and easily saved. The Belgian had also dropped a clever half-volley narrowly over after he'd juggled the ball past his marker just inside the Spurs area.

Mauricio Pochettino's side were for the most part comfortable in the first 45 minutes and it wasn't until a couple of minutes before the break that Mirallas almost punished Lloris for venturing away from goal but he couldn't curl his shot on target from a tight angle.

Everton needed to respond in the second half and with Ross Barkley sensibly withdrawn in favour of Muhamed Besic, they enjoyed a more purposeful first quarter of an hour after the break.

The Bosnian skidded a long-range effort just wide, Osman missed with a volley and Galloway almost bamboozled his way through but was foiled at the last by the 'keeper, but after failing to make the breakthrough, the Blues fell back under Tottenham's spell as the Londoners resumed control of the game.

Nasir Chadli and Christian Eriksen had shots deflected just over as they tried to double their lead while, at the other end, a wayward header by John Stones and a couple of poor crosses were as much as the hosts could muster in the closing stages of an increasingly fractious and unattractive affair.

The defeat, Everton's 15th in the Premier League and their second in a row following the loss at Goodison to Sunderland, dropped them to 11th and will cost the club 1.6m as Crystal Palace leapfrog them into 10th.

More than that, it underscored how far Martinez's team have fallen behind the standards set last season and the work that needs to be done to get back among the European places next season.

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