Everton and Tottenham failed to turn up the heat on those above them in the race for the top four as the played out a 2-2 draw at Goodison Park.
Going into the game seventh and eighth respectively, a win would have seen the home side move within four points of fourth place, while Spurs could have gone above Liverpool on goal difference with a victory.
However, despite both holding leads at some stage in the match, neither side could hold on and had to settle for a point apiece.
The game proved to be a slow burner, with minimal moments of quality in the opening exchanges.
In fact, Richarlison’s effort after 24 minutes was the first moment of note, but the Brazilian was denied by Hugo Lloris.
Out of nowhere though, Spurs opened the scoring in the 26th minute through Harry Kane’s 20th league goal of the season.
After Michael Keane misjudged the flight of Tanguy Ndombele’s cross and could only manage to flick the ball into the path of the Spurs striker, Kane took just two touches to control and finish into the bottom right corner.
The hosts were provided with a chance to respond almost instantly though when they were awarded a penalty after James Rodriguez was bundled over by Sergio Reguilon in the act of shooting.
Replays seemed to show that the Colombian had received minimal contact and had actually kicked the floor- causing him to fall- however the decision stood and Gylfi Sigurdsson stepped up to take the spot kick and confidently converted to level the scores.
The equaliser boosted Everton, who went on to have the better of the rest of the half.
Rodriguez came close to nudging them in front but was denied by a smart reaction save from Lloris, before Ben Godfrey failed to guide his header on target after meeting a dangerous free kick delivery at the back post.
Despite their chances, the Toffees couldn’t find a second and it stayed 1-1 going into the break.
Carlo Ancelotti’s men threatened to continue applying pressure immediately after the restart as they looked to pin Tottenham back.
That resulted in Richarlison going close when he jumped highest to meet a corner, but his header was too high to cause any trouble.
Spurs were able to soak up that pressure and looked to be growing in confidence, nearly retaking the lead when Toby Alderweireld came with inches of flicking in a corner, however his header was the wrong side of the post.
But Everton did go ahead in the 61st minute when Sigurdsson doubled his tally for the night by finishing off a flowing move.
Seamus Coleman burst down the right flank and played a one-two with Richarlison before cutting the ball back perfectly for Sigurdsson, who guided the ball into the far side of the goal with a one-touch finish.
Just as Spurs had quickly surrendered their lead in the first half, another defensive error saw Everton do the same in the second.
It was Keane and Holgate involved again, with the former’s attempted clearance hitting Holgate and falling to a grateful Kane who ruthlessly dispatched into the top corner.
That set up an intriguing final 20 minutes, with both sides in need of a win with European qualification in mind. And as the game became more open, both had chances to win it.
Kane came closest for Spurs, heading just over the crossbar as he narrowly missed out on a hat-trick goal in the 72nd minute.
But Everton could and probably should have struck the decisive blow in the 85th when Joshua King was played into the box only for the striker to fire straight at Lloris. They were given a second bite at the cherry as the ball fell to Richarlison with the ‘keeper still on the ground, but he lost his composure and fired over as the chance went to waste.
The last opportunity fell to Godfrey but he could not guide his attempted volley on target, but the main concern for Spurs was a suspected ankle injury for Kane which forced him off in the final minute and could put his place in next week’s League Cup final in doubt.
The shared points means there was no movement on the table, leaving West Ham, Chelsea and Liverpool with a chance to pull slightly away when they play in the coming days.