By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
At St. James' Park
Newcastle United 1 (Cisse 2)
Everton 2 (Baines 43, Anichebe 60)
Papiss Cisse scored his sixth goal of the season, but could not prevent Newcastle United slipping to a 2-1 Premier League defeat against Everton at St. James' Park.
The Senegalese front man headed home from close range inside the opening two minutes to give the Magpies a dream start to 2013, but with the interval approaching Leighton Baines drew the visitors level with a brilliant free-kick.
Both sides had chances after the break to snatch all three points, and it was the visitors who did just that as substitute Victor Anichebe netted almost immediately after his introduction.
And Newcastle will feel aggrieved to have come away from the game empty-handed - their third successive defeat - after a decent performance in which they created a number of chances and saw James Perch's first-half header hit the post.
Just 71 seconds were on the clock when Cisse struck the hosts ahead.
Goalkeeper Tim Krul pumped a long free-kick forward, and although Shola Ameobi failed to make contact with a flick on, the ball bounced kindly for Cisse, who had nipped in behind Baines and promptly nodded over Tim Howard from eight yards.
Four minutes later Krul turned from provider to saviour as he first sprung full-length to his left to claw away Baines' direct free-kick and then dived bravely at the full-back's feet to smother when the next phase of play was put into the danger zone.
Everton were beginning to turn the screw, but for all their possession and bright attacking play, it took until the 23rd minute for the Toffees to fashion their next chance - a tame far-post header from Steven Naismith which was simple for Krul to gather.
But United regained the initiative and came inches away from doubling their advantage on the half hour mark. Vurnon Anita's deep set piece from the left was met by Perch at the far post, but the defender saw his header thump the post before being eventually hacked clear by the visitors.
Krul once again excelled minutes later - parrying Pienaar's close range effort before managing to get up and block the follow-up from Jelavic as Everton threatened to get back on level terms.
But the Dutch international stopper was powerless to stop Baines' stunning equaliser two minutes before half-time. Having been awarded a free-kick 30 yards out, Baines stepped up and hammered a powerful, swerving effort which flew into the back of the net like a rocket.
Ameobi scored in United's last home game - against QPR just before Christmas - and on 58 minutes he almost repeated the trick, latching on to a long ball and prodding agonisingly wide of the upright with Howard motionless.
And two minutes later the hosts were made to pay as substitute Anichebe edged Everton ahead.
The striker had only just been introduced from the bench and stole ahead of Davide Santon inside the six-yard box to prod Jelavic's low centre past Krul.
Newcastle's response was swift and came via Gabriel Obertan, with the winger racing through the Everton defence but finding Howard equal to his low, left-footed effort which was threatening to sneak in at the near post.
Howard then denied Cisse his second of the afternoon after an inventive effort from the striker. Having seen an initial header blocked by a visiting player, Cisse - lying on the floor - thrust out a leg to send the loose ball goalwards, only for the Toffees stopper to smother it on the line.
Newcastle were throwing bodies forward in search of an equaliser. Santon was released inside the box but opted for a shot - which was saved - rather than to roll the ball across the area for a teammate, shortly before Howard saved well to keep out a Marveaux strike which came through a clutch of players.
And despite six minutes of stoppage time, the Magpies were unable to find a way through a resolute visiting rearguard on a frustrating night on Tyneside.
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Tim Krul; James Perch (Nile Ranger 87), Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon; Cheick Tiote (Sammy Ameobi 80), Vurnon Anita; Papiss Cisse, Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan (Gael Bigirimana 65); Shola Ameobi
Everton (4-4-1-1): Tim Howard; Phil Jagielka, John Heitinga, Sylvain Distin, Leighton Baines; Steven Naismith (Victor Anichebe 58), Phil Neville (c), Leon Osman, Steven Pienaar; Marouane Fellaini; Nikica Jelavic (Bryan Oviedo 88)
Subs not used: Jan Mucha, Shane Duffy, Thomas Hitzlsperger, Magaye Gueye, Apostolos Vellios
Referee: Martin Atkinson (Yorkshire)
Bookings: Newcastle - Cisse (41), Williamson (53), Tiote (68); Everton - Heitinga (47), Pienaar (80)