Coleman inspires Everton


Everton 2 Tottenham 2:It was a home debut to remember for Republic of Ireland under-21 defender Seamus Coleman today, after the Donegal man came off the bench to inspire two late Everton goals and salvage a point against Spurs.

The Londoners did have a chance to clinch it at the death after Tonny Hibbert took out Wilson Palacios, but Tim Howard was equal to Jermain Defoe's spot kick.

The result cost Spurs the chance of returning to third in the table and despite the morale boost it also extended Everton’s woeful run to one win in their last nine Barclays Premier League matches.

David Moyes’ side, ravaged by a lengthening injury list, are three points above the relegation zone with little prospect of seeing their major stars return before the new year.

Things started to deteriorate for the hosts after Peter Crouch had fired over when well placed and Howard had denied Defoe’s shot when he cut inside Tony Hibbert.

The Toffees had obviously pressed Joseph Yobo into service when he was not fully fit — having missed the midweek Europa League win with a hamstring injury - and in the 15th minute he was replaced by 21-year-old Coleman, making only his second league appearance.

Jack Rodwell, back after a groin strain, was then booked by referee Andre Marriner for a late tackle on Niko Kranjcar despite appearing to get the ball first.

On-loan Manchester City striker Jo continues frustrate Everton fans and he showed why within the space of a couple of minutes midway through the half.

First he fired a low snap-shot from the left of the penalty area just past the far post before inexplicably getting his legs in a tangle six yards out and bundling wide Steven Pienaar’s perfect cross.

Everton continued to give it their all, however, and Dawson was booked for bringing down Cahill before Leighton Baines curled in a free-kick which had Heurelho Gomes diving to his left.

But Defoe remained a danger and when Wilson Palacios and Kranjcar combined through the inside-right channel the striker whipped a shot inches outside the far post.

In the 36th minute Benoit Assou-Ekotto was lucky to escape with only a yellow card after appearing to scrape his boot down the back of Cahill’s head as the pair lay on the floor and then pushing the Australia midfielder and Marouane Fellaini.

Fellaini was also cautioned in the same incident, which prompted the Belgian midfielder to explode with rage and he should have been sent off seconds later for elbowing Crouch.

Once the football resumed Hibbert’s perfectly-timed tackle and Howard’s large frame twice denied Defoe.

Assou-Ekotto was replaced at half-time by Gareth Bale but the real impact came from the other flank just two minutes later.

Aaron Lennon whipped in a cross from the right and Defoe nipped in front of Hibbert, who was slow to react, at the near post to score.

Crouch almost made it 2-0 seven minutes later when he poked the ball wide, although Howard appeared to get the slightest of touches.

Baines was booked for going through the back of Vedran Corluka and then saw his clearance charged down by Lennon who set up Tom Huddlestone for a shot which was deflected behind.

From Kranjcar’s 59th-minute corner Lucas Neill allowed Dawson to escape him in the penalty area and the centre-back dived low to score in successive league matches.

The goal prompted a double change with Saha and Ayegbeni Yakubu replacing Jo and Rodwell.

With 13 minutes to go Crouch’s left-footed shot beat Howard but also the far post before Everton got themselves back in the game.

Coleman drove past Bale and towards the byline before crossing to Saha who fired high into the net.

Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Saha, with an overhead kick, both went close late on before Coleman crossed cleverly to the back post, where Baines screwed his shot towards Cahill and the Australian stooped to head home four minutes from time.

Howard save was met with roars of approval from the Goodison crowd, who presumably agreed with the decision to award Coleman the man-of-the-match award in only his third senior appearance.