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Goodison Park | 9th December 2012 15:00

Everton v Tottenham

Goals in the dying minutes from Steven Pienaar and Nikica Jelavic saw Everton come from behind to earn a dramatic victory over Spurs and go fourth in the Barclays Premier League table.

As the clock ticked into the final minute of play, it looked as though Clint Dempsey's deflected 75th-minute effort was going to inflict the Blues' first home defeat since March.

Yet dramatically - fantastically - Pienaar stooped to meet Seamus Coleman's centre and head a timely leveller against his former club - Everton's 1000th goal of the Premier League era.

Then, with a fourth straight 1-1 draw looming, substitute Apostolos Vellios attempted an overhead kick.

The Greek's acrobatic attempt took a helpful nick off a defender and fell perfectly into the path of the prowling Jelavic.

The ice-cool Croatian was born for such occasions and calmly swept the loose ball past Hugo Lloris to send Goodison into raptures.

SpursKevin Mirallas returned to Everton's starting line-up but played just 45 minutes.

The Blues had been handed a boost ahead of kick off as Kevin Mirallas and Coleman were both passed fit to return.

And it was the hosts who made the livelier start, rattling Spurs with their upbeat passing and urgency on the break.

Back in March, Jelavic netted his first Everton goal to give David Moyes' men a 1-0 win over what was then a Harry Redknapp side.

Here, the Croatian was again looking in the mood and keen to play off the last man in a high-lying Andre Villas-Boas back four.

A quick burst to reach Darron Gibson's ninth-minute throughball was a hint at his threat, though on that occasion defender William Gallas recovered well to drive him wide.

Soon after, the Gibson-Jelavic combination clicked again. This time it was goalkeeper Lloris - back between the sticks in place of Brad Friedel - who charged off his line to stunt the striker's progress.

Next to find freedom and burst in behind was the returning Mirallas. However, on a chilly afternoon, his cross for Jelavic was just a little too hot.

Gaps were opening up on either side for Everton and after Coleman and Pienaar had both driven efforts wide of the target, a neat move involving Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini led to a sniff of goal for Leon Osman.

Steven Pienaar heads the leveller.Steven Pienaar heads the leveller.

The England midfielder - for that he now is - found his window to shoot but arrowed the ball two yards adrift of Lloris' upright.

Still, it was a sign Everton were nearing a breakthrough and they were perhaps unfortunate not to be handed a golden shot at the lead with the interval looming.

Already this season there have been numerous occasions on which Moyes has felt aggrieved at decisions which have gone against his side.

Though ultimately irrelevant, he may now have another to add to that list.

A first penalty appeal for a suspected handball against Dempsey was correctly waved away; the American's clearance had come off his shoulder. The second, when Pienaar's shot struck the arm of Gallas, looked nailed on.

Referee Kevin Friend didn't think so. A chorus of boos met his half-time whistle.

Jelavic strikesNikica Jelavic pounces to seal a dramatic win.

Moyes was forced into a switch at the break, Mirallas having to make way for Steven Naismith.

And after the Scot had spurned a glorious early chance following a Baines free-kick, Spurs defender Jan Vertonghen stung the palms of Tim Howard with a set piece of his own. 

Without the talismanic Gareth Bale however - absent due to a hamstring strain - the visitors seemed uncharacteristically subdued.

At the other end they were soon opened up again, Osman swirling a shot beyond the reach of Lloris but over the bar.

Villas-Boas responded by sending on the more defensive-minded Tom Huddlestone for winger Aaron Lennon.

It looked like the move of a man happy to acknowledge a point at Goodison is rarely a bad one.

Yet, it was Huddlestone who found Dempsey - and a pot-shot and a slight deflection later the American was wheeling away in celebration.

Nikica Jelavic celebratesThe Croatian celebrates as the Gwladys Street goes wild.

It was more than cruel on the Toffees. In fact, it was totally undeserved.  

It could have been worse. Gylfi Sigurdsson, another substitute, saw his bending effort from the edge of the box rebound off the top of Howard's crossbar.

Few will remember that now though. The afternoon would belong to Everton after all.

By Adam Clark

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