David Moyes marked his 10-year anniversary as manager of the Merseyside club with a dogged effort over a Spurs outfit who were well below their best yet again but still managed 24 shots on goal to nine.
It was the first time Spurs had lost three in a row under Harry Redknapp and the loss sees them just four points ahead of fourth-placed North London rivals Arsenal who host Newcastle United on Monday night.
The opening 20 minutes or so indicated it would be a tame affair but it soon kicked into gear with the opening goal coming to the home side. Leon Osman skipped around Younes Kaboul outside the area before cutting back for Nikica Jelavic who produced a brilliant first-time finish on the instep for his first Everton goal to beat Brad Friedel who got a despairing hand to the well-struck effort.
Earlier in proceedings, Friedel kept out Marouane Fellaini’s angled attempt with his foot before Royston Drenthe tested the Spurs keeper with a bouncing long range effort which was safely held.
Friedel produced a solid save to keep out Jelavic’s free-kick in the 34th minute before Toffees gloveman Tim Howard got involved by diving to his right to keep out Jermain Defoe early in the second half.
Friedel was at it again to keep out Defoe eight minutes later as Spurs started to press for a leveler with Luka Modric blasting over from the six-yard box in the 57th minute.
Defoe had the ball in the back of the net with just under 15 minutes left but was rightly judged offside before Tottenham substitute Rafael van der Vaart’s deflected effort was inches over the crossbar and then Louis Saha saw his shot clatter onto the upright and off Howard’s knees as Everton held out for a vital victory which sees them move up to ninth.
TRIBAL ASKS: Are Tottenham slowly slipping away to eventually lose third? On the other side of the coin, can Everton’s customary late-season finish see them finish well within the top half?
Goodison Park, Liverpool