A wickedly deflected strike from Giovani Lo Celso condemned Everton to their first defeat following the Premier League’s resumption at Tottenham Hotspur’s echoey new home.
Michael Keane was the player who turned the ball into his own net but it was rotten luck for the defender, who was racing to intercept Argentine Lo Celso’s effort.
Carlo Ancelotti used all five permitted substitutes – albeit Mason Holgate’s first-half withdrawal was enforced – as he chased the point which would have moved Everton nearer seventh-placed Arsenal.
The Italian’s side earned a wave of set-pieces around Spurs’ box – and Anthony Gordon injected thrust into Everton’s football following his introduction for the second half – but Hugo Llloris in Tottenham’s goal was never overly troubled.
Lloris pouched a smart volleyed back-heel from Dominic Calvert-Lewin following a Gordon free-kick and clung on gratefully to a late shot from Moise Kean.
But eight of Everton’s 11 attempts were from outside the box and they were unable to craft a leveller.
Tottenham’s goal on 24 minutes was a scruffy affair from start to finish and left their visitors feeling pretty hard done by.
Centre-back Keane put his body in the way of a Son Heung-min pot-shot but the rebound, dropping to Harry Winks, enabled Spurs to come again.
Son to come again, in fact, taking over and progressing into the box to nudge a pass right for Harry Kane.
Blue shirts surrounded the England striker and a defensive toe directed the ball towards Lo Celso.
He spun and swung his left boot through it, profiting from a generous slice of good fortune when his blast deflected off Keane, darting across to cover, and left Jordan Pickford stranded.
South Korean Son and goalkeeper Lloris would exit for half-time embroiled in a fair old ding-dong.
The barney could conceivably have been spicier had Everton equalised in the final minute of stoppage time.
Yerry Mina, on for the injured Holgate, stepped in to curb an untidy passage of play and stride forwards to feed Richarlison.
The Everton striker shoved the ball out of his feet and swiped an effort which flew narrowly past Lloris’s right post.
Son’s inability to prevent Mina’s advance seemed to be at the root of Lloris’s anger as he stomped off for his drink.
Richarlison’s attempt came after a lull for the South American, Calvert-Lewin the more prominent of Everton’s strike pair for a period – a consequence, perhaps, of the Brazilian being roughed up by a succession of illegal challenge in the opening 15 minutes, Lo Celso, Ben Davies and Harry Winks taking it in turns to leave something on Richarlison.
Son’s initial strike leading to Spurs’ goal reflected his side’s growing frustration midway through the opening half.
The hosts had been able to find no way through Everton’s rigid structure, a narrow midfield providing sound protection for the back four which had been breached only once in three games coming here.
Lucas Moura had been first to take aim from distance for Spurs. The Frenchman’s low 25-yard strike on 21 minutes scudded past Pickford’s right post.
Soon after, it was Everton making the running.
Andre Gomes dinked a first-time ball over the top following Calvert-Lewin’s clever lay off.
Momentarily, it appeared Alex Iwobi would have a chance to beat Llloris one-on-one but the World Cup winning keeper was quick enough out of his box to extinguish the threat with a headed clearance.
Holgate sustained the problem which ended his night early in a challenge on the breaking Lo Celso.
The Everton player went into the book for upending the forward and Eric Dier’s free-kick clipped the roof of the net.
It wasn’t a bad effort from the defender but when Spurs were awarded a dead ball in a similar area soon after Harry Kane took his turn.
His strike flew over via Everton’s defensive wall and a fabulous clearing header from Calvert-Lewin at the resultant corner completed the tidy-up job.
Gordon replaced Iwobi for a second half which started much like the first, a Spurs player clattering Richarlison.
Moussa Sissoko was the transgressor this time and cautioned for his intervention.
Gordon worked Lloris with an optimistic strike and Pickford got down to his right to keep out an effort from Son.
The ubiquitous Son pirouetted on the 18-yard line to whip an effort past the far post and immediately followed that near miss with a run and shot which forced Pickford to save.
Everton started to gain some traction around the 70-minute mark.
Moura rashly felled Davies but Bernard, a replacement for Gylfi Sigurdsson, fired against the wall.
Davies picked up the pieces but was thwarted by an unfavourable deflection on his shot.
Ancelotti’s final throw of the dice saw Moise Kean and Djibril Sidibe, returning from a foot problem, come on for Davies and Seamus Coleman.
Everton pushed and Tottenham were starting to live on their nerves.
The sight of Kane taking the ball to the corner flag in stoppage time was indicative of Jose Mourinho’s team wishing away time.
Shortly before Kane’s keep-ball Gordon thrashed over following a partially cleared corner and Lloris saved low from Kean – after the Frenchman had gratefully clutched Calvert-Lewin’s improvised volley.
Sidibe was wide from distance in the final knockings, leaving Everton scant room for error in their pursuit of European football
Davies's Century Milestone
Six days after celebrating his 22nd birthday Tom Davies made his landmark 100th Premier League appearance for Everton.
Carlo Ancelotti prefaced this game by noting Davies plays football with a maturity beyond his years.
“A humble guy… really professional,” said Ancelotti, who asserted Davies would have a significant part to play in Everton’s future.
This was the midfielder’s 18th league start this season, exactly half of those coming since Italian Ancelotti’s appointment.
Davies’s low-slung socks paint an image from another time and there is something of the old school in his capacity to run box to box.
We wondered where Davies would start this match after the teamsheet dropped and from kick-off it was apparent Ancelotti had opted to utilise the player’s legs and lungs in an unfamiliar role on the right.
The graduate from Everton’s Academy, who made his senior debut more than four years ago in April 2016, has added to his game defensively over the past 12 months.
He performed a vital function shielding his back four in last month’s Merseyside derby, blocking passing avenues, intercepting, tackling and suffocating opponents.
Davies has the knack for timing his forward runs and is handy in the box – he scored six times in his 99 games before tonight and openly admits he wants to improve his goals return.
Here, though, he spent most of his time behind the ball, a nod to the faith Ancelotti has in Davies’s discipline and concentration.
Davies hung back when Seamus Coleman ventured on the attack and had the task of limiting the influence of zippy Spurs’ forward Son Heung-min.
When the ball was fed back to him by Coleman after 16 minutes Davies rapped a terrific pass through a narrow alley and into the feet of Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
Anthony Gordon’s introduction for the second half meant a move back into the middle for Davies.
The shift pitched Davies into direct competition with Harry Winks, the much-heralded England midfielder who is two years the Everton player’s senior but has 11 fewer top-flight appearances.
Davies certainly didn’t suffer in comparison with Winks, who upended Gordon in a dangerous position, and knitted his team’s play together through the middle.
He was sacrificed for Moise Kean with 13 minutes remaining and this wasn’t the fairytale night he’d have envisaged on this landmark occasion.
it was, however, a worthy performance from a player who is evidently profiting from Ancelotti's influence.
Only former left-back Michael Ball, at the age of 21 years and 68 days, has reached his century of Everton Premier League appearances at a younger age than Davies.
And you can see why Ancelotti is touting his player for a substantial part in his plans for the future.
This result in north London leaves Everton precious little room for manoeuvre in their tilt at European football.
The seven points gained from three matches before tonight soften the blow a fraction in this respect but you suspect there is no margin for error when Southampton come to Goodison Park on Thursday.
Everton must bridge a five-point gap to Arsenal in seventh – and leapfrog three more teams, including tonight’s opponents – to play in next season’s Europa League.
There are 15 points up for grabs in the next three weeks so it would be premature to write off the Blues’ claims.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side are undefeated in nine league games on their own pitch and in two matches since the Premier League restart have eased their manager’s fears over home advantage being negated by the absence of supporters.
Everton have won seven and drawn four of 15 top-flight matches under the Italian and boast a strike pair operating at a goal a game in 13 outings together since Ancelotti’s arrival.
The Blues have form under Ancelotti for responding to setbacks and they must repeat the trick in 72 hours' time.