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What The Papers Say - 10 December 2012

Monday's newspapers reflect on the dramatic win over Spurs.

What The Papers Say - 10 December 2012

The views on this page are taken from the local and national media and do not necessarily reflect the views of Everton.  

Daily Mirror

FOR every club there is always a moment that defines a season, and Everton emerged triumphant from this remarkable game with a sense of having just experienced it.

As the clocked ticked over into 90 minutes, it seemed that Tottenham were heading for the victory that would have a crucial grip on fourth, and made then favourites for a Champions' League spot.

Yet in the space of barely 40 seismic seconds, the Goodison club rewrote that particular plot line in a fascinating campaign, and perhaps with it changed the course of their own campaign.

The bare facts show goals from Steven Pienaar in the 90th minute and an astonishing winner from Nikica Jelavic turned the contest upside down, to deliver a win for the home side and with it fourth position in the Premier League.

What that can't show, though, is the impact such drama will have on the seasons of both clubs. For Tottenham it was devastating proof of their frailty in the dying moments of matches, a weakness that has seen them concede 10 goals - and throw away 15 points - in the final 15 minutes so far.

The cruelty of this game's denouement could seriously undermine affect Tottenham psychology, given the seeds of doubt it introduces about their ability to close out games, and about their mental strength.

The reverse, of course, is true of Everton. They know now they have the steel required of a side challenging for a Champions' League spot, and the belief this victory instils may be the element required to keep hold of it now they have entered the top four.

The last time the Blues went into the Christmas programme in this position, back in 2004, they tenaciously clung onto it for the rest of the campaign, and after this pulsating theatre, you wouldn't back against them doing it again.

Mind you, few saw it coming, as Tottenham survived an early onslaught from the Merseyside outfit, to gradually squeeze the life out of the game, and seize the goal that seemed for all the world to be enough for a hugely influential win.

Spurs were compact, but unadventurous in the first half, riding their luck a little as Hugo Lloris displayed his quality with saves from Leon Osman, Jelavic and Marouane Fellaini, to emerge after the break as the more threatening of the two teams.

Jan Vertonghen posted notice with a thunderous free kick well saved by Tim Howard, and on 76 minutes substitute Tom Huddleston's simple pass from midfield saw Clint Dempsey turn and send a shot over the stunned Everton keeper with the help of a wicked deflection off Sylvain Distin.

When another sub, Gylfi Sigurdsson, drifted a sublime effort  over Howard it seemed game over, but the ball crashed back from the cross bar to give Everton a lifeline they seized upon voraciously.

Even as the travelling Spurs fans were whistling for time, home sub Steven Naismith's clever ball sent Seamus Coleman free to deliver an astute cross from the right, and Pienaar produced the header of his life to find the net from just inside the box.

Cue pandemonium, as Goodison erupted into a frenzy of excitement that surely won't even be topped by even the most intoxicated Christmas festivities. With the whole still ground frenzied in relieved celebration, Jelavic proved his class is permanent with an astonishing winner.

The Croatian has endured a barren spell of late, but when - virtually from the resumption - the impressive Gibson floated a ball into the box, yet another sub Tolos Vellios launched himself horizontal for an overhead that Jelavic instinctively turned into the net.

It was miraculous, and it isn't even Christmas yet. Never mind an immaculate conception, it was an immaculate completion, and the centre forward may never score a more important goal if it is to ultimately deliver Champions' League football to this deserving club.

Daily Mail

He sped from his technical area and ran on to the pitch, danced a celebratory jig and punched the air before saluting an exultant crowd.
 
David Moyes can normally keep a lid on his emotions but, deep in injury time, after Everton had  dramatically won a game against Tottenham, he lost control. And with good reason.
 
The business end of the Barclays Premier League season is months away but the astonishing 88 seconds that Goodison Park witnessed on Sunday, when goals from Steven Pienaar and Nikica Jelavic secured victory, may just have altered the course of Everton’s campaign.

Had they lost, the hosts would have been stuck in seventh place and their run of form would have been one win in 10 games. Defeat would have been difficult to get over and many would have made the assumption that their early vibrancy had petered out.
 
Not now. Moyes celebrated so wildly because Everton had fired out a reminder that they will be firmly in the battle for a top-four spot, come the spring. Tenacious and determined, they took advantage of a Tottenham side who have a worryingly weak underbelly.
 
‘Something like that can lift you,’ said Moyes. ‘It shows the belief and persistence. We showed great character. If Everton hadn’t won this, you would have said, “How did they not?”, but we got our rewards.’

If Moyes was elated, his opposite was utterly bemused. Andre Villas-Boas lost his job at Chelsea last season after a defeat at Goodison Park but while no such fate will befall him after this, he knows there are problems to be addressed.

Tottenham have squandered 14 points in the final 15 minutes of games this year, with 10 goals being conceded in that time zone. A side with greater gumption would have left Merseyside with three points, having taken the lead in the 77th minute.
 
‘It is not really easy to explain,’ said Villas-Boas. ‘We have to improve how we see out a game. We had a chance to make it 2-0 but we couldn’t stop every long ball coming in. It was small details and we ended up suffering.’

Had Tottenham hung on, they would have been fortunate winners. Everton dominated and should have led at the interval.

Hugo Lloris made a superb intervention to thwart Jelavic early on, while Everton might have had a penalty in the 44th minute after William Gallas handled a Pienaar cross-cum-shot. Moyes was aghast that referee Kevin Friend failed to point to the spot. ‘I thought we had another difficult day when we did not get a single thing,’ said Moyes.
 
He added: ‘You have to win the games as you can’t rely on a  referee’s decisions. But I have got to say, a lot of games are changed by referees’ decisions — but we have not had any changed in our favour, that is for sure.’

The second half had been played almost exclusively in Tottenham’s half but, despite playing some attractive football, Everton  struggled to create an opening to cause Lloris to panic; the closest they came was when Leon Osman’s  25-yard drive was beaten away by the Frenchman.
 
Moyes has been concerned about Everton’s failure to kill off  opponents and there was always a suspicion that Tottenham would pilfer something on the break. So it proved when Clint Dempsey beat Tim Howard with a drive that looped off Sylvain Distin’s boot.

It was a huge goal and it was reflected in the celebrations. Villas-Boas and his technical staff embraced on the touchline, while Dempsey wheeled away to acknowledge Spurs’ exultant supporters. Moyes, by contrast, looked as if his world had fallen apart.
 
The game was almost taken away from Everton for good when substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson clipped the crossbar with a shot from 20 yards but they refused to give up and Moyes, who constantly changed things tactically to find a way through, eventually got his reward.

First Pienaar equalised with three seconds of normal time remaining, diving to meet Coleman’s cross with a thumping header against his old club. Then Jelavic sparked pandemonium with a superb finish when he seized on a loose ball.
 
‘That was as good a finish as we have had,’ said Moyes. ‘It’s early to talk about Europe but the position doesn’t shame our performances.’

The Guardian

If. It is the most pointless word in football. Tottenham Hotspur would be top of the Premier League if matches lasted 80 minutes, but the irritation of playing 10 extra continues to undermine André Villas-Boas' efforts at Tottenham. He went from victorious to vanquished in 88 seconds at Goodison Park.

As the clock turned to 90 minutes, Spurs had strengthened their claims on fourth place courtesy of Clint Dempsey's goal and Everton were resigned to another tale of regret. By the final whistle all had been transformed thanks to Steven Pienaar's diving header against his former club and an instinctive finish from Nikica Jelavic. Villas-Boas, who had said before kick-off that a manager can turn from hero to donkey in a supporter's eye within three games, was left aghast. The DJ at Goodison was sent scrambling through his collection for Slade's Merry Christmas Everybody.

"That was difficult to take," the Spurs manager understated. He is accustomed to the feeling. His team have lost 10 goals and 14 points in the last 15 minutes of games this season. "That has been our adventure so far," said Villa-Boas. "There are so many different reasons. It is not easy to explain as they have come from different situations, but I don't think it is a mental thing. Everton got more aggressive with their long balls at the end and it was difficult for us to deal with them."

David Moyes claimed the turnaround was no more than Everton deserved and it is true they did not leapfrog Spurs into fourth on spirit alone. Yet the swing was extraordinary. "We played terrifically well, especially in the first half through Kevin Mirallas and Seamus Coleman, but we just couldn't find the final pass or finish to kill it off," said Moyes. "It is too early to talk about Europe but the league position doesn't shame our performances."

Until the late drama the Everton manager had been preparing another broadside at refereeing standards after Kevin Friend had denied his team two first-half penalty claims – one optimistic, the other legitimate. In truth the game had needed the controversy, and the pulsating finale, as two well-matched Champions League hopefuls often cancelled each other out.

Hugo Lloris made a crucial early stop when Jelavic attempted to take Darron Gibson's defence-splitting pass round the Spurs' keeper but was denied by a perfectly timed intervention. In the opposite goal Tim Howard was only seriously tested from Jan Vertonghen's free kick before Dempsey, starting on the left in place of the injured Gareth Bale, shot from 25 yards and his effort looped over his USA team-mate via a deflection off Sylvain Distin.

Moyes' team controlled much of the first half, with Coleman a constant outlet down the right and Gibson dropping balls over the Spurs' full-backs with the accuracy of a quarterback. But too often a careless pass or cross undermined their work and it was only when Dempsey appeared to handle Vertonghen's clearance that Goodison came to life. Dempsey clearly moved his arm towards the ball but it appeared to hit his chest.

The referee stood firm amid vociferous Everton appeals that intensified 60 seconds later when Pienaar's shot struck the outstretched arm of William Gallas. Again the referee said no, but this time Spurs were reprieved. They were also thankful to see Mirallas replaced at half-time after the Belgian reported a tightening of the hamstring that had caused him to miss the previous four games.

Villas-Boas' men dominated for a spell after the restart although Mirallas' replacement, Steven Naismith, and Leon Osman squandered good chances. Spurs almost doubled Dempsey's lead when Gylfi Sigurdsson's shot from 20 yards beat Howard but cannoned off the crossbar.

The visitors appeared to have weathered the Everton storm as the game entered its dying moments. "We had tried everything," said Moyes. "We put Baines out wide, Pienaar through the middle and those final 10 minutes were probably the poorest part of our play."

Yet they yielded two dramatic finishes. First Pienaar threw himself at Coleman's centre to equalise with a diving header, Everton's 1,000th goal in the Premier League. Goal 1,001 arrived 88 seconds later when Gibson crossed, the substitute Apostolos Vellios attempted an overhead kick, and the ball squirmed through to Jelavic who converted from close range.

Daily Star

DAVID MOYES insists Everton deserve their place in the Premier League's top four.

The Toffees boss watched his side come from behind with a late burst to beat Champions League-chasing rivals Tottenham 2-1 at Goodison Park yesterday.

Steven Pienaar and Nikica Jelavic struck in the final minutes to cancel out Clint Dempsey's deflected effort as Everton leapfrogged Spurs into fourth spot.

Moyes said: "It is early to talk about qualifying for Europe. But the position does not shame Everton or the way the players have been playing.

"We could have easily slipped out and been down towards the bottom half of the table. It feels good but we have to maintain the level of performance.

"The players showed great character to keep going. A win like that can lift you."

Spurs boss Andre Villas Boas was left to bemoan yet another game in which they lost three points in the dying stages.

Spurs would be top of the league if games stopped at 75 minutes as they have now lost 14 points in the final third of games.

Villas-Boas said: "It is a disappointing result. It has been our adventure so far this season.

"If we don't count the number of goals we concede in the last 15 minutes, we would be top.

"Everton got more aggressive with the long balls and it proved more difficult to deal with them."

He was at a loss to explain why they concede so many late goals, adding: "So many different reasons. It is not easy to explain because some come from different situations."

Moyes was relieved to get the win after Everton were refused a first-half penalty for an apparent handball from William Gallas.

He blasted officials in his programme notes and was happy they did not get the final say in this game.

He added: "We had another difficult day and hardly a thing went for us.

"You have to win the games. You can't rely on referees to win the game.

"A lot of games are changed by decisions. We've not had any games where the referee has changed a game for Everton."

Daily Telegraph

The sight of the Salvation Army band lugging their instruments up Gwladys Street to provide the pre-match entertainment suggested redemption was on its way to Goodison Park. It took a long time coming.

After 89 minutes of Everton's last home game before Boxing Day, David Moye’s team were heading for a defeat that would have stretched their winless streak to five games and deepened the manager’s sense of injustice.

Instead two goals in 88 seconds, from Steven Pienaar and Nikica Jelavic, left Goodison and its blue Santa leaping to the strains of Slade, and lifted Everton above their visitors into the Champions League places.

For Moyes it felt like a reversal of fortune in a season dominated by draws and dogged by unfortunate refereeing decisions. For Tottenham and their coach there was the familiar sensation of an opportunity spurned and a fourth consecutive league win tossed away.

Andre Villas-Boas’s side have now conceded 10 goals in the last 15 minutes of matches, a failing that has cost them 14 points, and left the manager facing lingering questions about his ability to marshal his resources.

Spurs had taken the lead with only 14 minutes to play through Clint Dempsey’s deflected strike from 20 yards, and almost went 2-0 up when Gylfi Sigurdsson hit the crossbar from similar range. Once again, however, they could not turn an opportunistic lead into points.

The dramatic finale had looked unlikely for most of a game in which neither side were able to convert possession into chances. Everton were the better side but sloppy in the final third. With Tottenham clearly blunted by Gareth Bale’s absence, Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor were starved of opportunities.

With few clear chances, Moyes’ frustration with officials that he believed have undermined Everton’s season seemed likely to define the afternoon. The manager set the agenda in his program notes, ignoring seasonal goodwill by laying down a marker to referee Kevin Friend and his assistants. Moyes complained that decisions had unfairly cost his side this season, citing points dropped to Reading, Newcastle and Wigan as evidence.

By half-time he had a fresh case to add to his perceived miscarriages of justice as Friend turned down a good penalty claim when Pienaar’s drive cannoned off William Gallas’s upper arm. Moyes did not wait to put his grievances in writing, challenging Friend from the technical area as the Goodison crowd roared their disapproval.

His mood blackened with Dempsey’s goal, a speculative strike that took a helpful deflection off Sylvain Distin and looped over the diving Tim Howard.

Everton’s response was late but emphatic. The equaliser came as the clock ticked into the 90th minute and was made by Seamus Coleman, who carried a threat on Everton’s right flank all afternoon without producing the final pass.

At the last, he found it. Fed by Steven Naismith, he stood the ball up for Pienaar to attack. The midfielder’s stooping header gave Hugo Lloris no chance. Everton had their 1,000th goal in the Premier League.

The fourth official had barely lowered the board displaying four minutes of added time when Everton struck the winner. It again came down their right, this time through Darron Gibson. On his return after three months out, he steered in a cross that caused chaos in the Spurs box.

Substitute Apostolos Vellios essayed an overhead kick, but his mis-hit fell to Jelavic, hovering on Gallas’s shoulder. He struck a slick first-time finish for only his second goal in nine games.

Moyes’s fist-pumping celebration was wild by his standards. He claimed the result was justice done. “That [finish] is as good as we’ve had, but we have had a few like that were we have lost so we were due one,” he said.

“If Everton had not won, we would have been asking why not. We played terrifically well, Kevin Mirallas and Seamus Coleman from an attacking point of view, but we just couldn’t find the final pass or finish to kill it off.”

Moyes felt it was too early to determine whether a Champions League challenge is viable, but said his side were not flattered by the league table. “The position doesn’t shame our performances, but the Premier League is so tight.”

For Villas-Boas there was familiar frustration, but no explanation of his side’s vulnerability late in games. “It was a disappointing result in the end,” he said. “If we count the number of goals we concede in the last 15 minutes, we would be top. There are so many different reasons, it is not easy to explain because some come from different situations. It is something we need to improve on, to see off games.”

The Echo

SEAMUS Coleman hailed Everton’s dramatic 2-1 win over Spurs and believes the victory could be vital in their fight to qualify for Europe.
 
The Republic of Ireland international played a part in a rousing finale at Goodison, providing the cross for Steven Pienaar’s 90th minute equaliser, before Nikica Jelavic scored in extra time to bag three points.
 
And Coleman, who recovered from an ankle injury to replace injured Tony Hibbert at right back, hopes the win will help the Blues capitalise on the Christmas fixture pile-up and stay in the mix for Europe.

He said: “It was a big game and a massive few points.
 
"Before the game I was at home looking at the table and it occurred to me that a win could really put us up there but with a defeat we were looking at maybe dropping down to ninth.
 
“I was really pleased to be back and involved in the goal. I thought I’d be fit for last week but unfortunately wasn’t so it was good to be back in the team. I thought I had done it again in the first half but fortunately I got up and ran it off. I felt good in the end.”
 
Coleman admits he feared Everton would be made to pay for not taking their chances before their late flourish
 
“I thought during the first half ‘here we go again’,” said the 24-year-old. “We were making chances and not taking them. I got into a few good positions myself and probably didn’t get the cross in I’d have liked, so that’s why in the end I was pleased I got my head up and picked out Pienaar.
 
“When we were making cross after cross and chance after chance I was thinking ‘someone please just score’.”

The Blues might have levelled in the first half had they been awarded a penalty when William Gallas appeared to handle Pienaar’ shot, but Coleman said match official Kevin Friend does not deserve too much criticism.
 
He added: “I thought it was a handball.
 
"Referees have hard jobs to get it right all the time and they do get some great decisions right but when they go against you like that it’s really frustrating.
 
"Thankfully for our sake we got the result we deserved.”

The Echo

AN ASTONISHING 88 seconds when Everton turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 triumph also elevated the Blues back into Champions League contention yesterday.
 
And delighted David Moyes believes the fourth place his side currently occupies is merited by the performances his players have produced all season.
 
“The position doesn’t shame the way Everton have been playing or the way the players have been playing. It doesn’t shame them at all,” he declared. “They have been playing that well.

AN ASTONISHING 88 seconds when Everton turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 triumph also elevated the Blues back into Champions League contention yesterday.
 
And delighted David Moyes believes the fourth place his side currently occupies is merited by the performances his players have produced all season.
 
“The position doesn’t shame the way Everton have been playing or the way the players have been playing. It doesn’t shame them at all,” he declared. “They have been playing that well.

On the dramatic turnaround he added: “We’ve had a few like that recently that we’ve lost as well so we were due one.
 
“I remember a season when we used to regularly score late goals and win the games 1-0, around the Tomas Radzinski Andy Johnson time, but recently it’s not been the case.
 
“If Everton hadn’t won we’d have been saying ‘why not?’
 
“We played terrifically well, especially in the first half with Kevin Mirallas and Seamus Coleman, the attacking play we had was terrific, we just didn’t find the final pass or the final finish.
 

 


“Tottenham got better after 15 minutes of the second half and we had to defend four or five corners and free-kicks, but I thought we were growing into it again when they scored the goal.”
 
On Mirallas’ injury, the Blues boss said: “We don’t think he’s done his hamstring. It just felt as if it had tightened up completely and it will be a miss because he gave us something in the first half which we missed when he went off.
 
“We’ll see how it is. We don’t think it’s bad but the last thing you want is a recurrence of a hamstring injury.
 
“But I thought Naisy came on and kept the ball well, so good on him.
 
“And I thought Jelavic’s finish was great, to be alert and alive so late on. He gambled on something being nicked through and his finish first time was excellent.
 
“He’s been getting closer and he looked a bit frustrated because we weren’t getting enough to him, but he kept going and got his reward.”
 
Moyes wasn’t completely satisfied with everything he witnessed though.
 
Referee Kevin Friend ignored what looked like a handball in the penalty area by William Gallas and frustrated the home fans with a series of decisions against the Blues.
 
“I thought we had another difficult day where hardly a thing went for us. Not a thing,” Moyes said.
 
“You have to win the games. You can’t rely on referees’ decisions going your way and I have to say games are changed by referees’ decisions but we’ve not had any games where the referee has changed the result in Everton’s favour, that’s for sure.”

Taryn Drinkwaterkeep going blues we will get our rewards

Monday 10th December 23:29 Report Comment

Charles DevlinBrilliant comeback. Great Xmas present for the fans. keep it going lads like 2004.

Monday 10th December 22:43 Report Comment

shaun hughesnext day still massive smile ,come on lets be strong over christmas!

Monday 10th December 20:07 Report Comment

bernard philips24 hrs later and my face is still set in a big sloppy grin, 88 seconds that changed everything, Happy Christmas everyone from Toronto Toffees

Monday 10th December 17:44 Report Comment

william edwardsfantastic result, this team can go on and on, big times ahead for this fantastic club, no selling in january, get a couple in, in moyes we trust.

Monday 10th December 14:31 Report Comment

peter mayI just hope we can keep everyone fit and don't lose anyone in January. If the gaffer can pick up a couple of signings too, we CAN make the Champions League. So proud to be Blue.

Monday 10th December 13:55 Report Comment

Victor TayCome on you Blues, let's kick on and move above Chelsea now!!!

Monday 10th December 13:15 Report Comment

Ramon WignallThis game goes to prove that us fans should never give up until that final whistle has been blown. Well done to the 'Boys in Blue'. HAPPY CHRISTMAS to everyone :-)

Monday 10th December 13:00 Report Comment
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