Tim Howard produced a string of excellent saves to earn Everton a 0-0 Premier League draw at Tottenham on Saturday.
The hosts had the better of the game at White Hart Lane, only to be frustrated by a mixture of wayward finishing and some superb shot-stopping from the visiting goalkeeper.
Howard denied Harry Kane, Ryan Mason and Toby Alderweireld, while Nacer Chadli blasted a close-range effort over as Tottenham’s winless start to the league season was stretched to four matches.
Everton, meanwhile, may count themselves fortunate to have escaped with a point, having failed to truly test Hugo Lloris, apart from an early effort from Tom Cleverley.
Both clubs endured a week of off-field distractions, with Chelsea target John Stones lining up for Everton after his rejected transfer request dominated the back pages, sharing space with Tottenham’s failed pursuit of West Brom’s Saido Berahino.
Still the home faithful were introduced to a new signing as Son Heung-min was paraded around the pitch before the match following his big-money move from Bayer Leverkusen.
After a timid opening to proceedings it was Everton who fired the first warning shot, Cleverley pouncing on Kyle Walker’s error before forcing a fine stop from Lloris in the 17th minute.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men should have taken the lead midway through the half when Kane was sent racing clear, but Howard – left out of the 5-3 midweek League Cup win over Barnsley on Wednesday – stood tall and thwarted the England striker.
Howard came to the rescue again to deny Mason following an excellent throughball from Chadli as the hosts started to get on the front foot.
Alderweireld was next to call the American goalkeeper into action with a header from Mason’s right-wing corner.
Cleverley’s match came to a premature end just before the break after a crunching challenge from Eric Dier, with Roberto Martinez bringing on Kevin Mirallas in his place.
Tottenham looked to force the issue early in the second half and caused panic in Everton’s six-yard box as Kane looked to get on the end of Mousa Dembele’s cross.
The Belgian midfielder stayed down injured after twisting awkwardly when providing the delivery and Dele Alli came on to replace him.
Howard reprised his role as Everton’s saviour in the 55th minute, getting down low to his right to save from Mason.
It was poor finishing that frustrated Tottenham 10 minutes later, Chadli blazing over the crossbar with Howard prone having dived early following a Kane shot that was blocked.
Pochettino’s side, who did the double over Everton last term, were almost made to pay for their profligacy in the closing stage when Arouna Kone nodded Bryan Oviedo’s cross narrowly wide.
Kane’s day was summed up when he did finally find the back of the net, only to see a flag raised for offside as the Englishman’s search for a first goal of the campaign continued.
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