Tottenham 1 Everton 0 match report: Emmanuel Adebayor's striking instinct makes wasteful Everton pay

Spurs leapfrog Everton after the victory at White Hart Lane

White Hart Lane

For the Tottenham Hotspur coach Tim Sherwood this was one to get out of the way, look at the table and raise a toast, or maybe a Lucozade, to Emmanuel Adebayor. Had the previous regime at White Hart Lane been inclined to do the same, Sherwood might still be coaching the kids.

So frustrated had he become with Tottenham’s laboured movement he kicked a bottle of energy drink over his counterpart in the Everton technical area. It was that kind of afternoon for Roberto Martinez, meeting an undeserved end on and off the pitch. Up to that point it was the only shot on target registered by Spurs. That would change emphatically just past the hour.

Everton dominated possession but lacked a striker. Spurs absorbed the pressure then stole the points via the agency of a centre-forward. Adebayor might have been invisible for much of the match but he is no false 9 with the goal posts in view. A free-kick by Kyle Walker sought ought Adebayor, who chested it down on the edge of the box and crashed the ball past Tim Howard with his left boot.

“With Ady it is all about how he is being managed,” Sherwood observed. “How do you get the best out of him? I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing. He is a good character and shows the right application. I’m just delighted with him at the moment.”

Not so with the way his team are playing at home. “We started slow again. We have to find the reason why. Hugo [Lloris] kept us in game early on. I have to address it. At half-time I managed to sit them down and have a little chat. I told them we were just waiting to get beat. The contrast between the halves was encouraging. But I’m not pleased with the way we are starting games.

“I want to play with risk. I want them to move the ball, to see some rotation in the middle of the park, give the ball to players when they are marked. So there is stuff to work on.”

And for Martinez, too. His side were enterprising enough but did not threaten Lloris enough for the possession they enjoyed. Martinez has won plaudits this season for the style of his team. They are easy on the eye but of the top six sides, Everton have won the least, only 12 times, and posted nine draws.

Leon Osman had Lloris at full stretch in the first ten minutes, the first of three shots on target in the opening half. Osman, Steven Pienaar and Kevin Mirallas were allowed far too much space by the Spurs midfield. The prinicipal culprit was Mousa Dembélé, a fine footballer with the ball at his feet but too easily outmanoeuvred without it.

As the first half wore on Pienaar became increasingly influential down the left, his movement utterly unchecked by Dembélé. Everton should have been in front at the break and again shortly before the hour when Seamus Coleman escaped down the right only to pick out the boot of Jan Vertonghen instead of the blue shirts flooding into the box.

It was a flaw that afflicted both teams all afternoon, the ball in from overlapping full-back too easily intercepted by the outstretched limbs of defenders. The Everton wide men could argue that there was not enough of a target in Steven Naismith, who looked a world beater against Stevenage in the FA Cup.

In this setting Naismith does not offer anywhere near the incisive threat required of a lone striker. It took Martinez 72 minutes to acknowledge the problem before replacing the Scot with Gerard Deulofeu. The upswing in impetus was immediate, Deulofeu combining well with Ross Barkley, who had replaced Pienaar. The possession count increased towards 65 per cent in Everton’s favour. Unfortunately there are no points awarded for style.

“It is fair to say that in football it is better to be lucky than good,” said Martinez, lamenting the bounce of the ball. “Today was a case in point. We had to hit the back of net when we were dominant in the first half. We restricted Spurs to very little. I would have taken one shot on target from Spurs before game, but if we can take this kind of performance into the next 15 games we are going to get a lot of points.

“Hopefully the game won’t be this harsh on us. The first goal is always important. We tried everything but Spurs put players behind the ball and hit us on the break. But the performance tells us a lot. It shows that we can go to difficult grounds and be ourselves. But when you are the better side you need to win. We didn’t do that. The lapse in concentration cost us.”

Like Sherwood, Martinez believes his team must look inward for solutions, and work out the answers on the pitch. “To perform in the manner we did and not get the result means we need to look internally. It is developing into one of most exciting endings ever in the Premier League, it’s unique the way it is developing at the bottom, in the race for the Champions League and for the title. It is down to us to produce this level of performance every week while making sure we get the result.”

So Everton trade places with Spurs, who assume fifth spot three points shy of Liverpool and two clear of yesterday’s visitors. Spurs sent on Jermain Defoe in the closing stages. He didn’t make the scoresheet but he leaves the Lane a winner en route to a quieter life in Canada.

Read more
Premier League Sunday as it happened
Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
The data shows that the number of “unlawfully” large infant classes has doubled in the last 12 months alone
i100Mike Stuchbery, a teacher in Great Yarmouth, said he received abuse
Arts and Entertainment
The starship in Star Wars: The Force Awakens
filmsThe first glimpse of JJ Abrams' new film has been released online
Rio Ferdinand returns for QPR
sportRio Ferdinand returns from his three-game suspension today
The Speaker of the House will takes his turn as guest editor of the Today programme
arts + ents

Watch the spoof Thanksgiving segment filmed for Live!
Billy Twelvetrees will start for England against Australia tomorrow with Owen Farrell dropping to the bench
rugbyEngland need a victory against Australia today
Arts and Entertainment
The cover of The Guest Cat – expect to see it everywhere
Tyson Fury poses outside the Imperial War Museum in south London ahead of his fight against Dereck Chisora
boxingAll British heavyweight clash gets underway on Saturday night
i100 Charity collates series of videos that show acts of kindness to animals
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game