Aaron Lennon and Dele Alli each scored excellent goals as Everton dug deep to hold Tottenham to a 1-1 draw in the Premier League at Goodison Park.
Everton had won only one of their last six league games going into this encounter, while Spurs had won three in succession to climb into fourth place and within reach of Arsenal at the summit.
The difference in confidence levels was certainly evident in the early stages on Sunday, with the visitors dominating possession and striking the post through Harry Kane, but it was Everton that took the lead in the 22nd minute when Romelu Lukaku headed down a long ball into the path of Lennon, who chested down and fired in a brilliant half-volley against his former club.
Spurs hit the woodwork again soon after when Ben Davies sent an effort onto the bar following a corner, and Mauricio Pochettino’s side eventually got the goal they deserved on the stroke of half-time when Alli superbly chested down a long ball from Toby Alderweireld and volleyed past Tim Howard in the Everton goal.
The second half was more even, with substitute Muhamed Besic going close to a winner with a volley which Hugo Lloris tipped over, but neither side was able to find a breakthrough.
The gap between Spurs in fourth and Arsenal in first now stands at six points, while they are three points clear of fifth-placed Manchester United.
Spurs were being talked up as possible title contenders in the build-up to the game, and there was enough for Mauricio Pochettino to be encouraged by here.
Roberto Martinez’s Everton, meanwhile, remain 11th and have now won only once in seven league matches. Toffees fans have seen their side triumph just three times at home in the top flight this season and their frustrations continue.
Tottenham looked full of confidence from the off, applying plenty of early pressure, and they were inches away from going in front in the ninth minute when Kane’s low, drilled effort from outside the box came back off the inside of the post.
Everton were struggling to get hold of the ball, let alone do anything with it, but then produced a moment of quality to suddenly snatch the lead.
Tom Cleverley collected the ball from Leighton Baines’ backheel and lofted in into the area, where Lukaku nodded it down and Lennon took one touch before lashing it into the net, registering his first goal of the season on only his fourth league start.
Arouna Kone had a shot blocked as Everton looked to keep up the momentum, but Tottenham were soon threatening again and around the half-hour mark they rattled the goalframe again, Davies’ strike cracking against the bar.
The leveller that was the least Spurs deserved duly arrived in the final moments of the half, and was another finely-crafted effort involving an excellent long-distance pass.
Alderweireld was the man to deliver it this time, sweeping the ball forward from inside his own half, and Alli did superbly to control with his chest and hook past Howard.
Alli showed more neat play with his chest soon after the break as he guided a Davies cross into the path of Kane, who was put off as he tried to shoot by John Stones.
Gerard Deulofeu, recently introduced by Martinez as a substitute, then produced a dangerous delivery that Lukaku just failed to convert with his head at the far post.
The impressive Alli unleashed a long-range effort that Howard dealt with comfortably, and Everton then went close twice in quick succession at the other end, with Hugo Lloris doing well to tip a piledriver from Besic over the bar and Funes Mori heading narrowly wide.
Lukaku burst through in the dying seconds but put his shot into the stand, before Ross Barkley’s shot was saved by Lloris.