Everton vs Tottenham: Michael Keane scores late screamer in spirited second half

Kane has spent too much of his Tottenham Hotspur career with his head in his hands. Occasionally it serves a higher purpose for his club. Only the Spurs record scorer can attest to the pain inflicted by the punch to the face.

Furious Evertonians, led by their irate manager, believed Kane’s playing skills were more obvious than the ferocity of the midfielder’s punch.

Does not matter. Under the circumstances it was a nonsensical act of self-sabotage and Dyche’s frantic appeal to civil servant David Coote, who suggested Kane put on a play, betrayed his emotions. He knew what was coming as the England captain understandably jumped at the chance.

As they arrived at Goodison Park knowing a win would take them third, a Spurs crisis isn’t what it used to be. Perhaps such a possibility in the wake of management’s latest departure explains their fans’ annoyance.

For example, the Spurs fans chanted “Daniel Levy, get out of the club”, with guttural vigor after four minutes at Goodison Park and continued at regular intervals. Message delivered.

Whatever their opinion of Antonio Conte, the first game since his firing offered a chance to see if his scapegoat was justified. Body language experts would have drawn their attention to Kane. There was no joy to be had for those who questioned his inclination to lay down tools, the English captain too proud and professional to possess anything but a desire to fight for his side. Every superb first touch, perfectly weighted diagonal passes and stopping Everton mid-halfs confirmed his abiding passion for the cause.

Kane came close twice in the first 16 minutes, his shot on goal being blocked on the line by Michael Keane before being uncharacteristically headstrong after a close range header from an Ivan Perisic cross.

It would humiliate the Champions League if Kane doesn’t play in it next season. After the scare two years ago, even Spurs fans might forgive him if he seeks a transfer this summer.

What Everton wouldn’t give for Spurs’ troubles, their recovery under Dyche to put them in a safe position anyway.

They started with the positive qualities that promised to get them out of trouble, full of purposeful running and a willingness to put bodies on the line. In Alex Iwobi they also have a touch of skill, his tricks and shimmies being the most likely source of an early goal.

Demarai Gray should have done better after a great run and pass. Iwobi found him in space in the penalty area.

Should Everton survive, their evolution under Dyche will be one of next season’s more intriguing stories as he tries to get results using tools other than those that allowed him to thrive at Burnley.

The most obvious is the lack of a target; Gray the best option, but not Chris Wood or Ashley Barnes with his back to goal.
Everton often look like a side playing to win corners, their wide men being instructed to get chalk on their boots and cross in the hope of a ricochet in contact in the absence of a No. 9 in the box.

The Spurs understood that this is not an opportunity to shy away from a challenge, especially when the home side builds momentum through thunderous tackles or winning a set piece in the final third.

After Doucoure’s madness and Keane’s clumsiness, the Spurs wasted no time in asserting their advantage, allowing the away fans to shift attention from chanting about Levy to “one of their own”.

Moura then restored numerical balance. Spurs remain outside the top three. Everton are not among the bottom three. And Doucoure is the most relieved man in the country.