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Jan 5, 2011

Cahill-less Everton upset Tottenham

Tottenham failed to capitalise on Chelsea's latest slip-up as a Seamus Coleman goal earned the Tim Cahill-less Everton a 2-1 victory at Goodison Park.

Coleman headed home after 75 minutes to help David Moyes's side win a nail-biting contest in which they had dominated Spurs for most of the game.

In an explosive start, both sides scored in the opening 11 minutes as Louis Saha fired home from 25 yards for Everton before Rafael Van der Vaart equalised shortly afterwards.

Saha was given too much room by William Gallas and he used the space to brilliantly beat Heurelho Gomes from 25 yards.

However the lead did not last long as Everton fell asleep at the back and were duly punished by a Spurs side that have looked great on the counter-attack all season.

Alan Hutton's deep cross was aimed at Peter Crouch and he held Phil Neville off long enough to steer the ball into Rafael Van der Vaart's path and he beat Sylvain Distin to volley past Tim Howard.

It was his 11th goal of the season and provided further evidence that Harry Redknapp pulled off the signing of the year when he brought the Dutchman to London from Real Madrid in August.

With top-scorer Cahill with the Socceroos on Asian Cup duty, Everton's problems in front of goal were then underlined by a dreadful miss from Jermaine Beckford as he fired over when well-placed as Everton marginally became the more attacking outfit.

Van der Vaart tried one acrobatic volley as halftime approached but it went safely over Howard's crossbar and Crouch then had a goal ruled out for offside.

After the break, Van der Vaart thought he had his second and would have done but for a fine full-length save from Howard and Spurs then immediately had Hutton to thank as he diverted a goalward Saha volley behind for a corner.

It was frantic stuff all round as Everton became increasingly aware that they should be in front while Spurs attempted to hold on to the 1-1 as they created very little going forward.

Moyes has complained all year that his men are trying to score "pretty" goals in every encounter rather than doing whatever it takes to take the lead and they could be accused of that in this match as well.

They were almost made to rue their poor finishing when a brilliant Luka Modric run allowed Van der Vaart to poke goalward but Howard somehow pulled of a stunning point-blank save.

That event was the precursor to Everton taking the lead as their superior vision and possession was finally rewarded as a Saha shot was too hot for Gomes to handle and that allowed Coleman to dive in and head in the rebound for the match-winning second.

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