Alli cancels out Lennon’s opener as Spurs earn a draw at Everton
Everton’s Aaron Lennon scored his first goal of the season against his old club but Dele Alli equalised as Tottenham left Goodison Park with a point after a 1-1 draw.
Lennon - who initially left Spurs for the Toffees on loan last January before making the move permanent in the summer - struck midway through the first half but Alli volleyed home from Toby Alderweireld’s long ball just before the break, netting his fifth goal in 12 starts for club and country.
Tottenham remain fourth in the table, three points above fifth-placed Manchester United and three behind third-placed Manchester City, while lying six points off the top.
There were three changes to the Spurs side that had lined up against Watford on December 28. Kyle Walker and Ben Davies returned in the full-back spots and Christian Eriksen was also recalled. Mousa Dembele missed out due to a groin injury but Tom Carroll kept his place in front of the back four.
Spurs went close in the fourth minute as Walker sent in a dangerous low cross, and Everton right-back Seamus Coleman did well to stop Alli from scoring from close range.
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Harry Kane then hit the post with a low angled drive from 25 yards – but it was Everton who took the lead in the 22nd minute. Tom Cleverley played the ball up to Romelu Lukaku, who headed it down to Lennon, and he fired into the top left corner.
That was harsh on Tottenham and Davies hit the underside of the crossbar from 20 yards after a corner from Eriksen, but the visitors got a deserved equaliser in first-half injury time with a goal that was very reminiscent of their opener in the 1-1 draw at West Bromwich Albion in early December. Alderweireld delivered a pinpoint long ball from inside his own half and Alli chested the ball inside the box before volleying past Tim Howard.
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Spurs enjoyed a good spell of possession after the break, frustrating the home crowd. Davies crossed to Alli, who chested the ball in to Kane, only for the striker to be denied by a fine block from John Stones. Carroll then prodded the ball between the lines to Eriksen, who drove forward and sent a shot straight at Howard.
However, Toffees boss Roberto Martinez swapped Lennon for Gerard Deulofeu and the Spanish winger quickly began to cause problems, whipping in a dangerous cross which was inches in front of Lukaku as the striker tried to get his head to it three yards out.
Another Everton substitute, Muhamed Besic, went even closer as his volley was acrobatically tipped over the bar by Hugo Lloris, and Ramiro Funes Mori then headed narrowly wide from the resulting corner.
Both sides pushed for a winner in an end-to-end climax but Everton went closest as Lukaku’s shot was blocked by Jan Vertonghen and Ross Barkley’s effort was parried by Lloris.
Tottenham: Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Dier, Carroll, Lamela (Onomah 88), Alli (Chadli 83), Eriksen (Son 69), Kane
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs