In a match with huge implications at either end of the table, Everton and Newcastle faced off at Goodison Park – with the Toffees deep in the relegation zone. A win for Sean Dyche’s side would take them out of the bottom three, whilst three points for the Magpies would strengthen their grip on a top-four Champions League qualification spot following their 6-1 battering of Tottenham last time out.
EVE: Pickford, Godfrey, Keane, Tarkowski, Mykolenko, Onana, Gueye, Doucoure, Iwobi, McNeil, Calvert-Lewin
NEW: Pope, Trippier, Schär, Botman, Targett, Longstaff, Guimarães, Willock, Almiron, Wilson, Joelinton
In a frenetic start in front of a vocal home crowd, both sides spent the early spells looking to get a foothold on the game – but it was Everton that had the better of the play in the final third. The returning duo of Doucoure and Onana linked well before the latter’s final cross-field ball fell slightly high for the incoming Iwobi darting into the 18-yard box.
With their tails up, Everton drew the opening quarter’s best chance. Gueye won the midfield battle to skip away with the ball from Longstaff before picking out the run of Calvert-Lewin. Despite being through on goal, the forward just lacked the sharpness to get his final shot away cleanly – Fabian Schar recovered well to block the effort.
The England striker was nearly in again moments later. This time Michael Keane picked out the run, but Everton’s number nine was unable to test visiting goalkeeper Nick Pope as his shot deflected over the crossbar.
Everton then suffered a hammer blow in their perilous plight for survival – just as they had looked most likely to open the scoring – with the visitors taking the lead.
Joelinton found space on the counter attack on the left-hand side, before cutting inside and shooting low on his right foot drawing a save from home goalkeeper Jordan Pickford. The England ‘keeper was only able to parry the effort, and the predatory instinct of Wilson to slot home from six yards gave the Magpies the lead.Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
Everton responded well with a spate of possession, but lacked a cutting edge at times to threaten the opposition penalty area as the game began to lack fluidity.
Everton thought they had equalised on the stroke of half time, with Dwight McNeil playing in Calvert-Lewin to beat the offside trap, with the move finished with a neat chip over the onrushing Pope. The goal was chalked off for a marginal offside though, and the Toffees trailed at the interval.
The second half would play a similar plot: Everton were industrious, whilst Newcastle showed a clinical edge in the final third when openings emerged. Joelinton found Willock on the edge of the box before the midfielder’s goal-bound effort was cleared off the line by James Tarkowski, who did well to prevent a certain goal.
As the game opened up, Everton had their chances. Iwobi darted free on the counter attack after Targett had lost possession on the half-way line. The Nigerian’s pass fed Calvert-Lewin, whose first-time low shot forced a smart save from Nick Pope to deny the forward levelling the scoreline.
Calvert-Lewin was involved again moments later. Keane’s long ball found the striker before the England man’s lofted cross played in Doucoure at the back post. The midfielder was unable to take advantage of the opportunity, cutting inside to shoot before a challenge deflected his shot over the crossbar.
Newcastle looked to take things up a gear, and started to push more numbers into the attacking third. Pickford saved his side with a one-handed diving stop to deny Willock’s volley on the turn, after neat play in from the impressive Joelinton created the opportunity
Everton’s luck would run out minutes later as Newcastle extended their lead. Willock found himself free down the left before crossing from the byline of the 18-yard box, with Joelinton arriving late to head home into the corner of the net.
With the Toffees still regrouping, Newcastle scored a third as they showed their recent ruthless edge. Guimarães drove unchallenged through the midfield, before picking Wilson out on the edge of the box. On the turn, he was able to curl a sumptuous effort into the top corner past a despairing Pickford.Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images
Everton netted a consolation goal with ten minutes to play in the most bizarre of circumstances. McNeil’s inswinging corner evaded everyone, sneaking into the back post past an unsighted Pope.
The reprieve would be short lived as Newcastle restored their three-goal buffer just moments later. Isak picked up the ball twenty yards away from goal on the left-hand side before taking on several Everton defenders, then bearing down towards Pickford from an acute angle. The Sweden striker’s vision found a pass across the goal for fellow replacement Jacob Murphy to slot home from close range.
Things could have been worse for the Toffees as Fabian Schar thought he added a fifth in stoppage time. VAR spared Dyche’s side blushes this time though, denying the Swiss defender a rare goal for offside after a neat curling drive from 25-yards found the bottom right-hand corner of Pickford’s goal.
Well beaten in the end, Everton remain in the bottom three with time – and games – running out as they look to mount a great escape for the second season in a row. Newcastle remain in third, as a return to the Champions League edges closer.Embed from Getty Images Embed from Getty Images