A much-improved Everton side earned a 0-0 draw at home to Tottenham.
It was a match dominated by VAR controversy with Richarlison having a penalty decision overturned and Mason Holgate receiving a red card, both on review from referee Chris Kavanagh.
But it was a spirited display from the Blues that displayed a lot of the fight that had been lacking in previous matches and ended their three-match losing streak.
Fabian Delph was handed a start after impressing as a sub against Wolves on Monday and he was instrumental in Everton’s strong press and compact shape which restricted Spurs’ attackers from threatening Jordan Pickford’s goal in the first half.
Indeed, it was the Toffees who were on top but they failed to carve out any clear-cut chances with a speculative 20-yard effort from Ben Godfrey that was easily gathered by Hugo Lloris being their only shot on target before the break.
They continued their energetic, hard-working performance into the second half and Anthony Gordon came close with a volley from the edge of the area that flew just over the bar.
Everton then thought they’d been awarded a penalty when Richarlison was brought down by Lloris but upon being advised by VAR to check the monitor, Chris Kavanagh overturned his own decision and play continued.
Demarai Gray and Lucas Digne both impressed on the left flank and the two linked up for the Blues’ closest chance all afternoon when the Frenchman’s cutback was prodded just wide of the post by the winger.
Tottenham, managed by Antonio Conte in the league for the first time, almost snatched a winner with minutes to go when substitute Giovani Lo Celso’s curled effort struck the post, which was by far the closest either side got to finding the net.
There was still for one final piece of controversy as in the dying embers, Holgate, who replaced Allan as a makeshift central midfielder on 82 minutes, was booked for catching Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg on the follow-through of a tackle, despite the Englishman clearly winning the ball first.
Acting upon the advice of Jon Moss, the match’s head of VAR, Kavanagh again went to check the monitor and again overturned his own decision, instead brandishing a red card in the face of Holgate in a frankly ludicrous decision.
The match ended in a goalless draw and Everton were definitely entitled to feel the more aggrieved of the two sides.
They had dominated most of the match and prevented the North London side from registering even a single shot on target all game, as well as having two VAR decisions go against them for supposedly ‘clear and obvious’ errors from the referee.
In spite of all the frustration, there are still positives to take from the game, mainly that it was a far cry from the limp first half at Molineux six days earlier.
Rafael Benitez’s side showed a lot more grit and heart and had Goodison Park roaring again for the first time in a long time.
The run of upcoming fixtures doesn’t get any friendlier with a trip to face Manchester City next on the list but the Blues displayed today that there is still fight in this side.