DAVID MOYES paid tribute to the fighting qualities of his players after they battled back from 2-0 down to snatch a precious point from Tottenham last night.
Spurs appeared to be cruising thanks to Jermain Defoe’s 13th goal of the season and Michael Dawson’s header, both coming early in the second half.
However, substitute Louis Saha gave the hosts hope with a close-range strike before Tim Cahill headed in his first Premier League goal since September 13.
Goalkeeper Tim Howard then produced a crucial penalty save from Defoe two minutes into added time after Wilson Palacios had been fouled by Tony Hibbert.
“I’m not convinced it was a penalty. When two people go for the ball undoubtedly one is going to get there before the other and I think it is harsh,” said Moyes.
“But it was a vital save. We work hard to do what we can (on penalties) but he is a good goalkeeper, he is lively and he should make penalty saves because he is very agile.
“I thought we deserved a bit of luck and the goalkeeper helped it.
“It was important because the players had worked incredibly hard and had got stuck in.
“We tried to get something and because of that we earned a bit of good fortune when it came around.
“I thought when it went to two each if anyone was going to make it 3-2 it was going to be Everton rather than Tottenham.”
Injuries continue to be a problem for Everton, who lost centre-back Joseph Yobo to a recurrence of a hamstring strain after just 15 minutes but that actually turned into a positive for the Toffees.
Moyes had to send on Seamus Coleman for only his second Premier League appearance and the 21-year-old Donegal man had a hand in both goals, earning him the man-of-the-match award.
“He was fantastic today. He played really well, he got forward and made a difference for us at times. Good on the youngster,” was the Everton manager’s assessment.
Tim Cahill insisted Everton deserved the point.
“We tried our hardest,” Cahill said.
“We went down, picked ourselves up and Tim Howard produced a great save and I guess there’s a bit of justice.”
Howard was given some advice by substitute Saha during a lengthy delay between Palacios being fouled for the spot-kick and it being taken. The instructions appeared to have been relayed from the home dugout.
“He gave me a word of advice,” Howard confirmed. I kind of knew what to expect.
“There’s so much video now that there’s not one penalty taken that’s not there to see.
“You try your best not to leave any stone unturned.”
Harry Redknapp was less than impressed with his side’s late collapse.
The Tottenham manager interrupted his post-match press conference on several occasions to watch replays of Everton’s goals being shown on televisions in the room.
“There looked to be only one winner. It was game over as we looked to be in control and I couldn’t see any way we weren’t going to go on and win,” he said.
“We had chances to go 3-0 up and then they pulled a goal back. It was poor defending, we got sucked in and then suddenly the crowd get a lift.
“They got some light where there wasn’t any before, came on strong and it was a different game for 10 minutes.
“When you get it back to 2-1 you are going to throw the kitchen sink at the opposition and that is what they did.
“Then we get a great chance to win it with a penalty with the last kick of the game. Robbie Keane is our penalty taker but you’d fancy the little man (Defoe) to score with the form he is in but it wasn’t to be.”
Redknapp said Palacios was “quite badly hurt and in a lot of pain” and had been taken to hospital with a rib injury as a result of the clash with Hibbert which led to the penalty.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved