Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Everton
Emmanuel Adebayor scored the only goal of the game as Tottenham claimed a crucial win over Everton in the chase for a Champions League spot.
The Togo international collected an excellent Kyle Walker free-kick in the 65th minute before blasting the ball past Tim Howard in the visitors' goal.
The win lifted Spurs above Everton into fifth place in the Premier League table, but it was a cruel defeat for the Merseyside club, who had been the better team up until that point.
Indeed, Everton were so in control of the game that Adebayor's goal was the first shot on target for the home side.
Tottenham head coach Tim Sherwood made one change to his team with Roberto Soldado dropping to the bench in favour of Mousa Dembele.
Seamus Coleman, Steven Pienaar and Sylvain Distin returned for Everton, while manager Roberto Martinez started with on-loan Monaco striker Lacina Traore on the bench.
Everton were out of the blocks quickest against a sluggish Tottenham side, and Leon Osman forced two saves from Hugo Lloris in the opening 10 minutes with drives from the edge of the area.
Everton dominating in early part. Got to score when your on top. Spurs yet to wake up.— Joseph Barton (@Joey7Barton) February 9, 2014
Spurs began to regain a foothold, though, and Christian Eriksen sent a long-range free-kick just over Tim Howard's crossbar in the 13th minute.
Spurs were almost caught out in the 19th minute when Lloris had to react quickly to smother as a defensive mix-up almost allowed Pienaar in.
Everton have certainly been the better of the two sides here so far. Working the ball well, Naismith working hard up front on his own— Sam Tighe (@stighefootball) February 9, 2014
In the 26th minute, Danny Rose found space down the left side to send over a whipped cross, which Emmanuel Adebayor just failed to connect with.
Michael Dawson got caught out by the spin of a corner as he attempted to connect inside the Everton box in the 31st minute, and his header drifted wide.
Kevin Mirallas was looking for a chance in the 36th minute, but his determination did not help Everton when he failed to spot Naismith in a good position and fired over himself following a mazy run.
Mirallas is still dribbling...pick your head up son Naismith wide open. #TOTvEVE— Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) February 9, 2014
Tottenham enjoyed the best of the possession in the opening exchanges of the second half, but it was Everton who went closest when Mirallas' effort drifted wide of the post.
The home side were enjoying their first real spell of sustained pressure, and Adebayor flashed a header just wide from a corner.
But a lack of fluency to their passing and play was causing Sherwood frustration on the sidelines.
#THFC have no gameplan at all. Structure-less attacking with inaccurate passing.— Vince (@vincetalksfooty) February 9, 2014
Tottenham brought on Andros Townsend for Eriksen in the 59th minute to replace Eriksen, with the home side still to register a shot on target throughout the game.
Everton also made a change in the 64th minute with former Spurs man Pienaar replaced by Ross Barkley.
In the 65th minute, Spurs finally hit the target and opened the scoring through Adebayor.
A quick free-kick from just inside the Everton half was floated through by Walker, and the Tottenham forward finally found space behind Distin and Jagielka to blast the ball past Howard.
Tactics Tim turns to Tantrum Tim to Triumphant Tim, leaping five feet in the air.— Jonathan Wilson (@jonawils) February 9, 2014
It was a cruel blow for the visitors, who had been the better side, but Martinez will have been concerned that Walker was able to take the set-piece quickly.
After the goal, Sherwood switched Paulinho for Etienne Capoue moments after the goal.
Naismith made way for the returning on-loan Barcelona man Gerard Deulofeu, while Osman was replaced by Aiden McGeady.
Tottenham made their final swap of the afternoon with FC Toronto-bound Jermain Defoe coming on for one of his last games for the Londoners in place of Aaron Lennon.
The England international went close in the dying moments of the game, but Howard blocked his angled effort.
In injury-time, Everton were unfortunate not to be awarded a spot-kick when Coleman was felled in the area, but that merely summed up their luck on the day.
Selected Player Ratings
Seamus Coleman A
Everton full-back returned to the first team showing no ill-effects from his recent injury absence. Proved to be a constant menace to Tottenham. Genuinely becoming the complete full-back now.
Kyle Walker B+
Clearly struggled against the pace and overlapping attacks of Leighton Baines on Everton's left flank. Not a completely comfortable 90 minutes for the England international, but his quick free-kick delivery for Adebayor's opener was sublime.
Steven Naismith A-
Everton striker might not be everyone's favourite at Goodison Park, but his work as a lone forward with some neat lay-offs and hard graft underlined his desire to prove himself.
Christian Eriksen B
Tottenham's best player in the opening period, constantly looking for the chance to break the Everton backline. Went very close with a long-range free-kick in the first half. But struggled to cope with Coleman's runs in the second half before he was replaced by Townsend.
Both teams will swiftly return to Premier League action in midweek.
Tottenham face a long trek north to face Newcastle United on Wednesday, while Everton play host to improving Crystal Palace on the same night.
Martinez: "We started well. We controlled and imposed ourselves on the opposition. First half was very good." #efc— Sam Tighe (@stighefootball) February 9, 2014
Martinez: "credit to lloris who made 2 spectacular saves. Better to be lucky than good, maybe" #efc— Sam Tighe (@stighefootball) February 9, 2014
Martinez: "spurs put men behind the ball and hit us on the break. To be able to say we were the better side is good, but we must win game"— Sam Tighe (@stighefootball) February 9, 2014
Sherwood: "I keep saying the same thing. We started slow and I need to find out why. We need address it. Hugo lloris kept us in it"— Sam Tighe (@stighefootball) February 9, 2014
Sherwood: "we sat too deep and gave them too much space. In the second half we tightened up, pressed higher and they gave us the ball back"— Sam Tighe (@stighefootball) February 9, 2014