Tottenham Hotspur Logo

Tottenham Hotspur 3 - 2 Everton

Half-time: 1 - 1

Everton Logo
FA Carling Premiership 1999-2000 – Game 3
3pm Saturday 14 August 1999
White Hart Lane, London
Att: 34,536
Aston Villa (a) Ref: Paul Alcock Southampton (h) 
[1999-2000 Fixtures & Results] League Position: 18th [Premiership Results & Table]
Francis Jeffers After the pathetic and toothless display at Villa Park, Walter Smith had to play a more attacking formation. Francis Jeffers started up front alongside Kevin Campbell, but Dave Watson (and Michael Ball?) were injured, so a slimline Richard Dunne came in – at right back, to mark Ginola!!!

In the match, Everton were frequently outplayed by a faster and more competent Spurs side, but went ahead with a fortuitous penalty after Jeffers timed his slip perfectly when Walker challenged him. Unsworth went for placement from the spot, and scored. However, Spurs persistence and dominance lead to a Sherwood equalizer, with Everton bedazzled by one of Anderton's many excellent corners.

In the second half, Jeffers did it again, with Walker catching his trailing leg as the youngster rounded him after looking suspiciously offside from a Campbell flick-on. Walker was bizarrely shown a yellow card (for what? – It should have been red or nothing!), and Unsworth converted much more powerfully.

But Everton still looked lacklustre, with Campbell getting poor service from the barrage of deep lobs thrown up to him by Everton's hoofing defenders as the midfield went AWOL. Spurs went on to give Everton a lesson in wide, deep wing play finished with punishing crosses that produced two goals in the last 10 minutes, as Everton's resolute defence finally crumbled. Walter will no doubt talk this defeat down again, but it was clearly an opportunity spurned. Its going to be a long hard season...


Tottenham Hotspur: Sherwood (34'), Leonhardsen (82'), Iversen (86')
EVERTON: Unsworth (pen:24', pen:77')
   LINEUPS  Subs Not Used
Tottenham Hotspur: Walker, Carr, Perry, Scales, Taricco, Anderton (85' Freund), Sherwood, Leonhardsen, Ginola, Iversen, Ferdinand. Baardsen, Korsten, Fox, Young.
EVERTON: Gerrard, Weir, Gough, Unsworth, Dunne, Ward (72' Cleland), Gemmill (72' Hutchison), Collins, Barmby, Campbell, Jeffers (80' Cadamarteri).
Myhre, Watson, Williamson, Parkinson (injured); Bilic, Branch, Grant, Farrelly, O'Kane (transfer-listed); Ball (rested/not match-fit).
Simonsen, Pembridge.
   Playing Strips  Formations
Tottenham Hotspur: White shirts; navy shorts; navy socks. 4-4-2
EVERTON: Royal Blue shirts; white shorts; white socks. 4-4-2
   Yellow Cards  Red Cards
Tottenham Hotspur: Walker (76')
EVERTON: Gemmill (31'), Ward (38')

Lyndon Lloyd Who knows where this will end?
ELECTRONIC TELEGRAPH Spurs survive two penalty blows
by Steve Curry
THE SUNDAY TIMES Spurs have last laugh
by Brian Glanville
Iversen sinks Everton
by Norman Fox
THE INDEPENDENT In harmony with the past
by A Journo
THE TIMES Jeffers's bright display
affords Everton some hope

by Alyson Rudd
EFC NEWS SITE Link to the Echo/Daily Post Match Report

THE OBSERVER Link to Football Unlimited Match Report
THE GUARDIAN Link to Football Unlimited Match Report
SOCCERNET Link to SoccerNet Match Report
CARLINGNET Link to CarlingNet Match Report

 Who knows where this will end?
Lyndon Lloyd
It's taken over a day of taking stock for me to get over the disappointment of yesterday's game. I was utterly gutted after having first three points and then one ripped from our grasp. This game was an acid test for both the team and Walter Smith after Wednesday's embarrassment at Aston Villa. Win, and the confidence would come flooding back. Lose and who knows where it could end.

Everton's performance was littered with examples of why we continue to struggle. Smith hasn't got to grips with managing a Premiership side that desperately needs midfield creativity. Most alarming was the way we sat back on both leads and invited Spurs to come at us. Worse, they did it playing the sort of football that served us so well in the mid-1980s.

In the Blues' line-up the was no sign of Michael Ball and Don Hutchison was relegated to the bench. Richard Dunne made his first start of the season at right back and David Weir played centre-back alongside Richard Gough. David Unsworth lined up at left back behind a midfield of Collins, Barmby, Gemmill and Ward ,with the welcome return of the Campbell and Jeffers partnership up front.

The game kicked off to the noisy strains of the Everton contingent camped out in the corner of the South Stand. The teams took a few minutes before Tottenham engineered one of umpteen crosses from wide positions and Anderton glanced a header a foot wide of Paul Gerrard's left-hand post.

Six minutes later, the increasingly dominant Tottenham won a free kick on Everton's right which Ginola swung in and Gerrard claimed at the lunging feet of Iversen; it would have been a certain goal if the Norwegian had been a yard closer to the ball. A minute after that, Ginola fed Anderton on the outside of the area and with a clever shimmy, the England midfielder danced through the Blues' defence before driving the ball goalward and forcing a parried save from Gerrard.

They were nervy times for Everton but we finally responded with the first real chance after 18 minutes; Campbell beat off the attention of Scales to lob the ball over Walker, only to see his effort bounce off the top of the crossbar. At the other end, Ginola found himself in space for a shot but, again, Gerrard was equal to the task, further strengthening his new reputation as a fine shot-stopper.

By the midway stage of the half, the pattern of the game had been set. Tottenham were running the game with some wonderful touches in the middle of the park, interspersed with typically mazy runs from the irrepressible Ginola. However, the Everton defence held firm. There was (and never is) any defence against appalling refereeing and Paul Alcock put in a masterly display of ineptitude and inconsistency. The statistic of Everton's two bookings to Spurs' none told only half the story.

In truth, while Tottenham's home advantage seemed to make them immune from punishment for bad tackles, Everton were to benefit from an iffy decision on 24 minutes. Following a little piece of Jeffers magic – the 18 year-old fooled two Spurs defenders with a lovely drawback and shot on the edge of the area that deflected away from a corner – the ball broke loose from a ricocheted shot. Jeffers led the chase and as 'keeper Walker dived at his feet, Jeffers fell to the ground and won the penalty. The TV highlights suggest that the Everton starlet was on his way to ground before Walker touched him but the spot-kick was awarded and Unsworth was lucky to find the corner of the net after Walker went the right way.

Everton were 1-0 up, against the run of play, and on the way to an unexpected first win of the season. Two minutes later, it could, and should have been two. Jeffers again broke free but was hacked down in the area indicating a clearer penalty claim than the previous one. Obviously fearful having awarded one penalty already, Alcock, unbelievably, waved play on.

Tottenham's response was to equalise. Anderton had seen Gerrard pull off a miracle save by diving at full stretch to paw away his goal-bound effort but, from the resultant corner, Tim Sherwood found himself unmarked to bury a header past Jeffers on the line. It remains unclear who should have been marking the former Blackburn midfielder but whoever it was, they weren't doing their job properly.

Spurs, with their tails up, had the last chance of the first period when yet another Ginola cross was met by Ferdinand who headed well wide. It was the latest in a long line of victories for the French winger over Richard Dunne who simply didn't have the pace or agility to deal with him. For that mis-match, Smith has to shoulder the blame.

The half-time break was made easier by the knowledge that we were still on for a point but that was tempered by the realisation that Spurs would win comfortably if Everton continued as they had finished the first half. However, Watford's 1-0 lead Anfield was met with great amusement.

The interval brought about no changes to either line-up and the teams kicked off in the fine rain. Within six minutes, Gemmill, with Everton kicking towards their fans' section of the ground, had had his first shot of the game fly wide. At the other end, Ferdinand planted a free header straight at Gerrard. Then, another refereeing travesty. Everton poured forward and Gough, chasing a promising ball in the area was blatantly shoved over by a Spurs defender who was nowhere near the ball.

On another two occasions, excellent chances for Everton were denied by pathetic offside decisions from the lines-woman. The only surprise was just how easily we now accept how the standard of officiating has deteriorated over the past few years.

The game then fell into a stage where Tottenham were beginning to lose their early momentum and Everton were happy to keep probing on the break. To spice up Everton's performance and perhaps sensing victory, Smith withdrew Ward and Gemmill in favour of Hutchison and Cleland.

Then, with 13 minutes left, a long ball was flicked on deftly by Campbell into Jeffers' path. The youngster had delayed his run perfectly, remaining onside, before flicking the ball past Walker who was the last line of defence. The Spurs' keeper caught Jeffers' heel as he raced by and the Everton No 17 crashed to ground as the fans bayed for a second penalty. There could be only one outcome: that Everton would be awarded their spot kick and Walker would receive his marching orders. After all, FIFA's directives state as such.

Alcock pointed to the spot but, incredibly, Walker was only yellow-carded. Nevertheless, Unsworth stepped up again and blasted the ball under Walker, who had gone the right way again, to give Everton another precious lead. 13 minutes looked like an eternity to hold on but, as it turned out, Tottenham only needed eight to turn the game on its head and break Evertonian hearts.

Again Tottenham came back. A floated ball was fingertipped by Gerrard, the deflection was sufficient to put off Unsworth and another Blue defender at the far post. When the ball dropped off the former's heel, Leonhardsen was on hand to blast the ball into the roof of the net and level the game again.

Three minutes later, it was all over. Another slick Spurs move left Carr in space on the right and his cross eluded the leaden-footed duo of Weir and Dunne allowing Iversen to steal between the two defenders and plant a header past the stranded Gerrard. 3-2 and Everton were destroyed. By this time Jeffers had been withdrawn and Cadamarteri sent on in his place but the chance for victory – or even a point for that matter – had passed.

Team 6 Overall, they played with enough spirit for an away game – especially after Wednesday – but they never really looked good enough in the midfield to create the chances to win in their own right. They have the air of a side simply making do in a time of financial constraint – which is exactly the situation.

The most worrying aspect is just how difficult they find it just to hold on to possession. I am sure that the statistics on how long both sides had the ball would be embarrassingly one sided. They have to sort that side of their game out or they are in for a very long season.

Collins is wasted as a defensive midfielder and Gemmill, while inventive, needs a playmaker alongside him for support. Up front, Campbell and Jeffers are nothing without proper service. Still, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that this Everton side will not go down this season – just tread water for another few months.

  • Gerrard 7 Another solid display that helped to keep the score down. I still think I would prefer to have Thomas in goal but we'll see what happens with Gerrard over the coming games.
  • Dunne 6 Lost as a right back and embarrassed too many times by Ginola. Even when he was joined by Ward, the pair of them couldn't stop him getting dangerous crosses in.
  • Weir 7 He is obviously a far better central defender than a right back but is still not the answer to our problems in either position.
  • Gough 7 I was a little disappointed with him as he was a little slack at times when you expect so much more from him. Still, he was solid for the most part and it is nice to know that he is there to get his head on the ball in times of danger.
  • Unsworth 6 His two goals and his readiness to get involved in attacks down the left apart, Rhino was enough to drive you to distraction. A couple of times he gifted the opposition the ball from defensive headers that could have gone elsewhere and his attacking repertoire is so pathetically one dimensional, it makes you want to cry; I lost count of the number of cross-field balls to nowhere he despatched from the left hand side.
  • Ward 6 Anonymous as far as I can recall.
  • Gemmill 7 He is proving to be a good acquisition but he is far from being the creative engine we need. Unlucky to be booked for an innocuous challenge when Spurs regularly made worse challenges that went unpunished.
  • Collins 6 Reduced to little more than a terrier in defensive midfield trying and not making a very good job of it. We know he has been told to hang back more this term but he belongs in attacking areas.
  • Barmby 7 Remains one of our most creative and industrious outlets and the fulcrum of most of our attacks.
  • Jeffers 6 Apart from the odd flash of brilliance – and winning our two penalties – Franny was a little disappointing in that he was a touch untidy. That will probably be a familiar tale this season as he gains more experience but we heap more expectation on him. Thank God he is staying with us, though, because we need him.
  • Campbell 7 He worked very hard but is still looking for his first goal of the season. Apart from one clever lob, he never came close to scoring but his partnership with Jeffers is going to be crucial for us. Franny feeds off Campbell's knock-downs so well and, with a bit more penetration from midfield, our fortunes will improve.

Refereeing 3 Appalling. No other word for it.

 Iversen on target as Spurs survive two penalty blows
Steve Curry, Electronic Telegraph
IT TOOK a long time for Tottenham to penetrate the barricade that Everton goalkeeper Paul Gerrard presented to their strikers at White Hart Lane but the London side twice came from behind to achieve success. Indeed, this was a match in which goalkeepers figured conspicuously for while Gerrard was somersaulting around his goal-line like a circus entertainer, Ian Walker was conceding two penalties for fouls on Francis Jeffers.

That Spurs deserved their victory, however, can hardly be denied and that is six goals in two games within five days for their fans. Surely value for money. The loss of Sol Campbell was a significant handicap for Tottenham, who are already short of defensive players with Ramon Vega and Justin Edinburgh injured. John Scales came in for Campbell. But there was some consolation for George Graham, the Spurs manager, in that Les Ferdinand, hurt in the impressive midweek win over Newcastle, was able to return to lead the attack.

Jeffers, omitted last week after putting in a transfer request he has subsequently withdrawn, figured prominently but Spurs made the early running, principally through the guile of Darren Anderton. Having lifted a free-kick from 30 yards over the bar, Anderton glided a header from Mauricio Taricco's left-wing centre just beyond the far post.

This was a busy opening spell for Gerrard. He saved instinctively when David Ginola and Anderton showed excellent skill for the Frenchman to set up the Englishman. Gerrard was active again when making a stretching dive to keep out another effort from Ginola as Spurs sustained the pressure on Everton's central defence, 37-year-old Richard Gough and captain David Unsworth.

Everton were restricted to the occasional chance on the break during this spell. From one, Kevin Campbell, spotting Walker off his line, chipped Scot Gemmill's throughball on to the top of the bar. Walker was then penalised by referee Peter Jones for fouling Jeffers as they contested a ball just beyond the far post. The Spurs goalkeeper got a hand to Unsworth's penalty but was unable to prevent it going in.

Spurs, sensing that they had the upper hand, refused to allow this setback to unsettle their rhythm and they finally made it count with an equaliser in the 33rd minute. Gerrard had again produced the most acrobatic of saves to keep out a perfectly placed Steffen Iversen header from Ginola's cross but, when Anderton floated in the corner from the right, Tim Sherwood rose to place his header beyond Gerrard's grasping right hand.

The heroics from Gerrard continued in the second half when he seemed, at times, to be mounting a one-man blockade of Everton's goal. Ferdinand directed a chip from Sherwood downwards but Gerrard somehow managed to get down to block it. Then Anderton should have given Spurs the edge screwing his shot wide of the target after Oyvind Leonhardsen had created a fine opening for him.

Everton then got a second controversial penalty with Jeffers and Walker again involved, the Spurs keeper contesting that he had tripped the Everton forward and earning a booking for his troubles. Unsworth dispatched the penalty in the same right hand corner he had put the first.

Spurs again responded with an equaliser. Ginola created the chance with a teasing centre from the left which Gerrard had to palm away but Leonhardsen was positioned beyond the far post to drive the ball into the roof of the net. With four minutes remaining, the Londoners took the lead. Stephen Carr, getting forward increasingly, centred from the right and this time it was perfect for Iversen to ghost in and direct his header into the corner.

Report The Electronic Telegraph

 Spurs have last laugh
by Brian Glanville, The Sunday Times
TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR, for so long frustrated by the Everton goalkeeper Paul Gerrard, eventually won this strange switchback of a match. Twice, for all their territorial dominance, they fell behind to penalties. Each was awarded after a foul by their goalkeeper Ian Walker. But on each occasion he was allowed to stay on the pitch.

Given the overall performance of referee Paul Alcock, this was scarcely surprising. George Graham, Tottenham's manager, did not mince his words. "I thought the officials were really poor, but the spirit among the teams was excellent."

His view was especially interesting since, the penalties apart, Everton seemed to be the greater sufferers from Alcock's omissions. Three times in the second half – Francis Jeffers twice and Kevin Campbell once – Everton's attackers were hacked down without hindrance. That is to say, they were not even consoled with a free kick, let alone a yellow card.

Although Graham was largely delighted with his team's second Premiership victory in a week – "I thought in the first 45 minutes were as good as when I came to the club; we played some absolutely tremendous stuff, when you think of the saves their goalkeeper had to make, the defending they had to produce" – he was not over-sanguine. The championship? "I don't think we're strong enough, I really don't."

Earlier in the week Jeffers had gone contritely to his manager Walter Smith, withdrawn his demands for a transfer or a huge rise in salary and committed himself totally to Everton. At 18 and with one call-up for the England squad already behind him, the future could be bright indeed. Above all, he will clearly not be intimidated by rough treatment, for all his youth. He has dash, anticipation and enterprise.

But the first half was really a contest between Tottenham and Gerrard. In the 17th minute a typically insidious run by David Ginola ended with a pass to Darren Anderton, who neatly made himself space for a drive that Gerrard turned round his right-hand post.

That Everton were not to be taken lightly was shown in the next minute when a long ball by Scot Gemmill enabled Campbell to break through Tottenham's central defence and lob the ball over Walker. Fortunately for Spurs, it landed on the bar.

Tottenham soon resumed their bombardment. Les Ferdinand and Oyvind Leonhardsen set up Ginola, whose fierce left-foot drive was turned round a post by Gerrard. It seemed no more than a matter of time before Tottenham scored, yet four minutes later, it was Everton who went ahead.

Nick Barmby, who had a largely subdued match against his old team, shot, Jeffers pursued the deflected ball, Walker dashed after him and dived, Jeffers fell, Alcock awarded a penalty. "I don't think the first one was a penalty at all," said Graham, and even his counterpart seemed doubtful about it. Be that as it may, David Unsworth, the Everton captain, stepped forward to put the penalty away with his left foot.

Re-enter Gerrard nine minutes later when Steffen Iversen got his head to Ginola's left-wing cross, and the goalkeeper, this time using his left hand rather than his right, gallantly got it away for a corner.

The respite was all too brief, however. Over came the right-wing corner kick from Anderton and Tim Sherwood, who had headed a goal against Newcastle United last Monday, now headed one against Everton. There was still time before the interval for Gerrard to save a high shot by Anderton after a free kick.

Little had been seen of Ferdinand, and indeed the spectators would not see much more after the 52nd minute, when he got his head to Sherwood's right-wing cross, only for Gerrard to block the ball, even if he could not hold it. It would be fully a quarter of an hour before Gerrard was tested again, turning over a strong right-foot drive by Stephen Carr.

Graham said he was not surprised his team could not maintain the pressure in the second half when they had given so much in the first. Nevertheless, it was a big surprise when Everton regained the lead from another penalty. When Campbell flicked the ball on, it went to Jeffers once again. Graham said he thought his team were trying to play offside and that if it was not offside, then it was definitely a penalty.

No doubt about that at all, since Walker dived at Jeffers and down Jeffers went. The case for sending off the goalkeeper seemed open and shut, but Alcock was having one of those days. Unsworth, however, put the penalty away between Walker and the right-hand post.

Tottenham recovered once more. Five minutes later Ginola crossed from the left, a high ball that seemed to be Gerrard's to intercept. Unhappily for Everton, however, he could not reach it and Leonhardsen, at the far post, hooked in the equalising goal, his first for his new club.

After 86 minutes Tottenham took the lead for the first time in the match. Little Carr, ever active and adventurous down that right flank, put over a cross that seemed likely to be intercepted by an Everton defence which won high praise from Graham for the way it dealt with Tottenham's steady supply of crosses. But this was the one that got away. Iversen, who had also headed a goal against Newcastle, now stole in to head the winner.

"I was disappointed in the way we gave away two goals from the crosses," said Smith. He was also disappointed that while two of his men were booked in the first half, none of Tottenham's was. "It always seems to be an Everton player who gets a booking," he lamented, "and it puts us under pressure."

But the pressure yesterday was largely Tottenham's, and had it not been for Gerrard in the Everton goal, they would not have had to rise so dramatically from the canvas.

Report Times Newspapers Ltd

 Iversen sinks Everton
by Norman Fox, The Independent on Sunday
George Graham reckons he has always been misunderstood. In spite of all those "boring, boring Arsenal days" he says he has always been an enthusiast for exciting football. Spurs fans will begin to believe him if Tottenham can recover from conceding two penalties and being 2-1 down with 13 minutes left, as well as graft and delight in equal proportions as they did at White Hart Lane yesterday.

Within the space of the season's first eight days both clubs had already experienced the misleading pleasure of premature high praise and equally too hasty condemnation. Everton had been acclaimed as being "passionate" and "tireless" in holding Manchester United to a draw at Goodison last Saturday, then dismissed as "lamentable" in a 3-0 away defeat by Aston Villa on Wednesday. Spurs had been "outplayed" by West Ham the previous Saturday but "dominant" against Newcastle on Monday. So, beware the hyperbole of summer.

Certainly Spurs quickly re-united themselves with their form of their previous match and Everton resumed looking as frail as they had in theirs. David Ginola teased a defence lacking the authority of Dave Watson, and when his 17th-minute contemptuous glide past two lunging tackles led to Darren Anderton forcing a desperate save from Paul Gerrard, the omens for Everton were dark.

The flow continued with waves of Spurs attacks until Kevin Campbell managed to take up a rare counter-attack and lifted the ball high over Ian Walker and on to the crossbar. Not that anything else promised much for Everton until, after 23 minutes, a shot from Nicky Barmby struck Francis Jeffers who, after his unseemly wage dispute, needed to redeem himself. He chased the ball to the goal-line but was beaten to it by Walker, who seemed to have pushed it away before Jeffers stumbled over him. Even so, the referee gave a spot-kick which David Unsworth converted.

For 10 minutes only Tottenham's indifferent finishing and some outstanding goalkeeping by Gerrard prevented them from balancing the score. Then Ginola centred deep and Steffen Iversen's header was superbly tipped over by Gerrard, who was rewarded cruelly only a few seconds later when Anderton's corner was headed past him by Tim Sherwood.

Lacking adequate cover in front of him, Gerrard was constantly tested. A penetrating centre from Sherwood shortly after the interval saw no serious challenge to Les Ferdinand, but Gerrard managed to parry his header clear. Stephen Carr, whose attacks down the right spoke volumes for Everton's midfield problems, brought about Gerrard's finest save, a push round the post from a fierce shot.

That hand-bruising deflection became even more important when, after 76 minutes, Walker came out to meet Jeffers, who was chasing Campbell's through ball, and up-ended him. The referee had no qualms about awarding Everton another penalty, but let Walker escape with only a yellow card. Again Unsworth slammed in the kick.

Everton's fortunate advantage lasted for five minutes and, sadly, it was Gerrard who offered Spurs a way back. As Ginola's centre began to drop Gerrard failed to make proper contact and Oyvind Leonhardsen, at the far post, had an easy equalising shot. Carr continued to thrust forward and, after 86 minutes, his centre was flicked in by the hard-working Iversen. "Come to George Graham for entertainment," the Spurs manager remarked with a wink.

Report The Independent

 Graham in harmony with the past
The Independent
Graham and Walter Smith of Everton fall into the category of make-do-and-mend managers, employed by clubs with plenty of tradition but constrained by market forces. Doubtless, the post-match huddle into which they fell centred on the difficulties of replenishment.

For Smith, whose work is hindered by ongoing confusion over Everton's ownership, there was the frustration of conceding two late goals after going ahead with the second of David Unsworth's two successful penalty kicks, both awarded against Tottenham's goalkeeper Ian Walker in tussles with Francis Jeffers. "We got ourselves into a good position, then allowed Tottenham to force the game into our penalty area," he said.

Both the incidents that led to Everton goals were contentious, the second penalty carrying a hint of offside against Jeffers before Walker sent him sprawling and, despite Everton's resolute defending, victory would have flattered them.

Coming under great pressure in the first half when Tottenham's passing was most purposeful, Everton needed Paul Gerrard's reflexes to keep them in the game. Rated third choice until a week ago, Gerrard pulled off a string of outstanding saves – the best of them to thwart Darren Anderton, who was in the form of a man with something to prove while negotiating a new contract.

Tim Sherwood brought Tottenham level with a near-post header from Anderton's corner and Graham put their late recovery down to burgeoning team spirit. "I thought our response to the second penalty was tremendous," he said. "Nobody's head went down and we got what we deserved. It comes from the work put in on the training ground, the spirit that's built up there."

Report The Independent

 Jeffers's bright display affords Everton some hope
by Alyson Rudd, The Times
TIME flies when you are having fun. At Tottenham Hotspur they think it is still this time last week. Everton think it is Christmas. "That's three games already," Walter Smith, the Everton manager, sighed. "It seems like 30, but it's only three."

No wonder Smith sounded weary. Just watching Everton leaves you feeling heavy limbed. They put in a monumental effort as Tottenham bombarded their penalty area and, with a great deal of assistance from the goalkeeper, Paul Gerrard, the back line just about coped for large chunks of the game. When Everton took the lead, it became tougher still, for Tottenham's level of self-belief is running high and George Graham's side reacted with indignation and yet more high-speed crosses into the box.

The worrying thing for Everton is that it is hard to see how they could have improved on this performance. With Francis Jeffers back in the fold, they were able to apply a little misery themselves and took the lead twice. Each time it was Jeffers's nimble runs inside the penalty area that befuddled Ian Walker. Although the first penalty decision was harsh, the second could, and probably should, have resulted in the goalkeeper's dismissal. In between the two penalties, both taken by Unsworth, Jeffers very nearly forced a third.

Had Jeffers left Goodison, it would have been time to check Everton's price for relegation. For all the angst caused by the saga of turning Kevin Campbell's loan period into a concrete signing, Jeffers is the striker most likely to keep hope alive this season. "Sometimes these things happen," said his manager of Jeffers's contribution on his comeback. But it was no coincidence. This player is important.

It was indicative of the match's high entertainment value that the fact that the visiting side was awarded two penalties was so easily absorbed. Everton's studied application in midfield was in stark contrast to Tottenham's verve. Last season Graham reiterated the importance of early crosses. His side have reacted with gusto with Ginola skipping, then unleashing, from the left and Leonhardsen and Carr providing ammunition from the right.

Leonhardsen, who scored the second equaliser from a Ginola cross, was an astute purchase. Somehow his commitment and athleticism never counted for much at Anfield, even though Liverpool sorely needed such qualities, but at Tottenham he looks the perfect fit. "He's one of the best athletes in the Premiership," Graham said, and he needs to be given the pace at which Tottenham operate. You know when Graham rates a player, he expects more. So even though Leonhardsen was near faultless, his manager insisted: "There's a lot more to come from him yet."

Anderton, who suffered more dismissive praise, could be on his way out of White Hart Lane after a contract dispute. On Saturday, operating in his favoured central midfield role, Anderton was dangerous but he is not as robust as Graham's other midfield players and began to wilt in the second half. He did take the corner kick for Sherwood's expert header that made it 1-1 but his own finishing was wayward.

The right wing, where Anderton is usually placed, is, in any case, being exploited by Carr, who lacks his team-mate's finesse but makes up for it with energy. His cross set up the winner for Iversen in the 87th minute. Then Tottenham indulged in a few minutes of short passing inside the Everton half, the crowd cheering as the visitors failed to make a single interception.

The home supporters were generous in acclaiming Richard Gough, who played alongside Weir in central defence for Everton. Gough, 37, who joined Tottenham 13 years ago, was a great favourite before leaving for Rangers. It was not easy for him in the face of this relentless display by a Tottenham side that has been inculcated with their manager's determination. If, without diluting it, they carry on having fun, they could progress markedly in less time than we all thought might be needed.

Report Times Newspapers Ltd

 RESULTS  (Game 3)


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