Every now and again a Premier League game comes around that is one for the ages, the one you can’t wait to sit down and watch on Match of the Day for its pure cheek and craziness. Such a match took place exactly 13 years ago today at White Hart Lane between hosts Tottenham and visitors Everton. Rich Laverty takes a look back at a memorable day in North London…
In one dugout, the hugely experienced former England coach Glenn Hoddle. In the other, up and coming youngster David Moyes – the Scot had revitalised a struggling Toffees side and took them to White Hart Lane with every intention of walking away with the spoils.
Despite living in times where expensive foreign imports were relatively few and far between outside of the top clubs, there was no shortage of different nationalities on show as Spurs and Everton walked out onto the pitch. In the white corner, American Kasey Keller, Yugoslavia’s Goran Bunjevcevic, Norway’s Steffen Iversen and Uruguay’s Gus Poyet.
In the blue corner, stand-in Norwegian goalkeeper Espen Baardsen, Italian Alessandro Pistone, Nigeria’s Joseph Yobo, China’s Li Tie, Canada’s Tomasz Radzinski and an American making his Premier League bow having signed just days before – striker Brian McBride.
It didn’t take the on loan Columbus Crew striker to make an impact, McBride fired the Toffees ahead just ten minutes into the match, only to see Poyet equalise within five minutes of his early strike. From then on it didn’t have the makings of a classic, both Keller and Baardsen made several saves apiece to keep the scores level but the sides went into the break all square at 1-1.
Once the game resumed it became the Robbie Keane show, the Irishman in top form as he single-handedly stopped Everton walking away with anything – let alone three points. Five minutes into the second half, Keane put Spurs ahead but some poor defending continued to cost Hoddle’s side, Steve Watson soon levelling the scores again with over half an hour remaining.
Soon enough it was chances galore, Steffen Iversen seeing several chances go amiss before Keane doubled his tally with just over twenty minutes remaining. It appeared to be the catalyst for Spurs to close the game out but it was anything but, this time the hosts held onto their lead for even less time, Radzinski appearing to steal a point for Moyes and his team in the 74th minute.
With neither side appearing to have much in the way of firepower on the bench, Hoddle sent on Milenko Acimovic for the final ten minutes in place of the misfiring Iversen. But a rare error from an otherwise flawless Watson allowed Keane in to coolly slot home the winner with seven minutes remaining, ending the White Hart Lane madness and giving Spurs an important three points.
Moyes was running on a tight budget at Goodison Park, and in the final minutes he could only throw on midfielders Lee Carsley and Leon Osman in the hope of another comeback. But it was all in vein, this time the Toffees had no time to respond and a January classic ended 4-3 to the hosts.
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