Everton defender Michael Keane’s stunning 90th-minute equaliser atoned for his error in conceding Tottenham’s penalty opener in a fractious 1-1 draw at Goodison Park in which both sides had a man sent off.
Harry Kane’s spot-kick looked set to give Spurs post-Antonio Conte a victory but it was the England captain’s involvement in the sending-off of Abdoulaye Doucoure which prompted most discussion – until Keane’s 30-yard screamer.
The country’s record scorer registered his 22nd league goal of the season but it was his over-reaction to Doucoure’s hand into his face, resulting in the Frenchman’s red card, 10 minutes previously which provoked the ire of Goodison.
In the 58th minute Kane fouled Demarai Gray in front of the technical area and then left his foot in on a tackle on Doucoure, who reacted angrily.
As the pair tussled on the touchline the Frenchman pushed a hand in his opponent’s face and the striker fell to the floor theatrically but Doucoure’s actions left referee David Coote little option but to send off the Everton midfielder.
It left Sean Dyche’s side facing the final half hour with 10 men but, having done a good job of keeping the visitors at bay, their resistance was broken quickly and easily.
Keane lunged at a loose ball in the penalty area but Cristian Romero got there before him and as Kane stepped up to dispatch the spot-kick chants of “cheat” rang around the stadium.
Six minutes after coming on substitute Lucas Moura was dismissed for an over-the-top tackle on Keane, who showed no ill-effects to stride forward and hit a swerving shot past Hugo Lloris to earn a point which lifted his side out of the bottom three.
The visitors, playing their first game following Conte’s departure just over a week ago, began like they had a plan under his assistant Cristian Stellini’s caretaker charge.
Kane’s goalbound shot on the turn in the ninth minute was blocked by Keane, who himself produced a far more spectacular effort chesting down a free-kick and volleying over at the other end.
The striker then headed an Ivan Perisic cross wide at the far post – and that was Tottenham’s last attempt at goal of the first half.
Having not succeeded with those early efforts Spurs lost their way somewhat as, after Dwight McNeil hooked behind under pressure from Pedro Porro, Everton dragged themselves back into the game.
Eric Dier got his head in the way of a Ben Godfrey shot and Doucoure headed over when he should have at least hit the target, as the home side finished the half looking like a side with more of an idea, even if Jordan Pickford had to save from Son Heung-min before an offside flag went up.
But it was 45 minutes littered with unforced errors as players struggled to retain possession and find each other with simple passes, with Spurs becoming more culpable as time ticked by.
Early in the second half Dier was caught trying to dribble out of defence and was only spared by Idrissa Gueye’s woeful finish with Doucoure better placed to his right waiting to be slipped in.
Everton’s desire, with top-flight survival at stake, appeared greater than Tottenham’s to secure Champions League football next season but that was taken too far just before the hour when Doucoure lost his head in his confrontation with Kane.
Worse was to follow with Keane’s mistimed tackle but from then it was the 10-man hosts who looked the more likely to score as Spurs, criticised by Conte a couple of weeks ago for lacking character, retreated into their shell.
But they not only lost ground but their discipline and, after Gueye forced Lloris to tip over a shot before Moura’s red card gave Everton a glimmer of hope and Keane seized it in dramatic fashion as Kane departed to a chorus of boos.