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Premier League

  • 10 March 2012
  • • 23:00
  • • Goodison Park, Liverpool
  • Referee: M. Halsey
  • • Attendance: 34992

Everton 1-0 Tottenham: Jelavic opens his Toffees account to hand Redknapp a third successive league defeat

Premier League

Everton 1-0 Tottenham: Jelavic opens his Toffees account to hand Redknapp a third successive league defeat

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The big-money January signing slotted confidently in his first start under David Moyes to give his new team their fourth consecutive victory at Goodison Park

David Moyes celebrated ten years in charge of Everton by adding to the recent scalps of Manchester City and Chelsea with a victory over Tottenham thanks to Nikica Jelavic's first-half strike.

Jelavic's goal in the 22nd minute set Everton on their way to a victory, condemning Tottenham to their third consecutive Premier League defeat under Harry Redknapp as concerns over their top-four credentials continue to grow.

Following his substitute appearance at QPR, Jelavic was handed his first start by Moyes replacing Denis Stracqualursi as the lone frontman whilst Steven Pienaar missed out due to his loan agreement with Tottenham.

The visitors welcomed Scott Parker and Gareth Bale back to the line-up having missed the Premier League loss to Manchester United and Ledley King stepped into the breach in place of the injured Michael Dawson.

Louis Saha made the bench despite suggestions of a gentleman's agreement between the Redknapp and Moyes which would have prevented him featuring, as Jermain Defoe led the line with Emmanuel Adebayor.

The match started at a timid pace and it wasn't until the 15th minute that a genuine chance was created. Defoe broke the Everton offside trap and collected a through ball with John Heitinga in pursuit.

After getting into the box, Defoe looked to fire a left-footed shot on goal but was denied by the recovering Dutchman's lunge. An aggrieved Defoe looked for a penalty but referee Mark Halsey deemed the defender's tackle legal.

This sparked the home team into life and Marouane Fellaini's left-footed volley from a wide angle was saved by the outstretched leg of Brad Friedel minutes later.

As Tottenham struggled to deal with the movement of the midfield five Moyes deployed, Leighton Baines found Leon Osman running from deep on the left side of the box.

Osman latched onto the pass and nipped in and past an overly aggressive Younes Kaboul before pulling the ball back for striker Jelavic and Everton's January signing showed impressive composure to side-foot the pass beyond Friedel from the edge of the box and mark his first start with his first goal.

The reaction from the away side lacked urgency and besides a couple of long-range strikes from Bale, Tim Howard was hardly troubled by the half-hour mark.

Friedel, in contrast, had to make a low stop from a deflected Royston Drenthe effort and a sprawling parry from a Jelavic free-kick.

Redknapp opted to revert Bale to his natural left-wing role after starting from the right flank and Spurs began to see an improvement but chances created were slim and Everton were content to deny their visitors the space to find rhythm in possession.

Spurs opted to stick with the same starting eleven as they emerged for the second-half and they showed renewed vigour as Defoe found space on the left of the box for Parker's pass.

His jink inside and right-footed shot tested Howard but the American's save was routine as he beat the ball away for a corner.

Tottenham's first substitution saw Saha replace Adebayor ten minutes after half-time as the visitors continued to control possession in search of a way back into the game.

Bale's cross-field ball to Benoit Assou-Ekotto set Spurs in motion again and the French full-back's volleyed pass found Luka Modric just inside the box. The Croatian got slightly too under his snapshot though and failed to trouble Howard.

Everton, in truth mustered little of note by the 65th minute and only the introduction of Jack Rodwell stemmed the flow of Spurs attacks.

Rafael van der Vaart replaced Sandro with 20 minutes to go but immediately Spurs had to deal with a rare Everton attack. Osman was played in on goal on the right of the box but his drive was too central and saved by Friedel.

Five minutes after Van der Vaart's introduction, Spurs thought they were level. Assou-Ekotto's cross found it's way to the back-post with Bale arriving.

As the ball jumped up and struck Bale on the chest, it fell to Defoe who turned it past Howard. Unfortunately for the striker he had wandered a yard offside making the decision to disallow the strike correct.

For all Tottenham's second-half possession, Everton have been bred by Moyes to hold onto leads such as this. Adding Phil Jagielka to an already sturdy back-line reinforced the hosts resilience.

The final chance of the match fell to the visitors as Van der Vaart's deflected shot nestled on the roof of Howard's net and when the resulting corner was played short to Assou-Ekotto whose shot squirmed to Saha.

The Frenchman's attempt as he lost balance wrong-footed Howard but the ball struck the foot of the post and away to safety.

The Toffees have found their stride as they so often do in the second period of the season and move into ninth place but for Spurs, they will be looking even more anxiously over their shoulder as Arsenal and Chelsea continue to gather points.

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