Newcastle United 3 Everton 2
- Lee Mason
Ayoze Pérez’s late double capped a remarkable second-half comeback from Newcastle United as the Magpies recovered from two goals down to beat Everton 3-2 on Saturday.
It looked like United’s four-game winning run on their own patch was coming to an end, as first half strikes from Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison – either side of Matt Ritchie’s missed penalty – gave Marco Silva’s side a 2-0 lead at the break.
But Rafa Benítez’s men didn’t give up, and Salomón Rondón’s 65th-minute volley gave them hope before Pérez struck the equaliser inside the last ten minutes.
And then, with Newcastle piling on the pressure, the forward blasted home the winner on 84 minutes, sending a raucous St. James’ into raptures and sealing a superb fightback and a fifth successive home victory.
Both sides began a feisty first half with intent. Gylfi Sigurdsson took aim twice, either side of a Pérez header which cleared Jordan Pickford’s crossbar.
It was the visitors who took the lead, though, through lone frontman Calvert-Lewin. Bernard combined with Lucas Digne on the left and the French full-back’s well-weighted cross was met by the Toffees forward, who glanced his header low beyond Martin Dúbravka.
The half’s real talking point came just before the half hour. Ritchie’s looping cross towards Rondón was met by Pickford, who couldn’t hold it. With the ball dropping into the six-yard box and United’s number nine ready to pounce, the former Sunderland goalkeeper threw himself at Rondón, with the contact – not unlike a rugby tackle – bringing the Venezuelan down. It was a cynical move but one which referee Lee Mason deemed unworthy of a card, meaning Pickford remained on the pitch to save the resulting penalty from Ritchie with his legs.
And just a minute and a half later, at the other end, it was two. Everton attacked and Andre Gomes’ low cross was palmed out by Dúbravka, only for Richarlison to pounce from five yards, turning home his side’s second.
It was tough to take for the hosts, who came out fighting after the break. Rondón beat Pickford to a pass over the top and flicked it towards goal, but it dropped agonisingly wide of the upright.
And with 25 minutes left, they grabbed themselves a lifeline. Isaac Hayden floated a ball forward for Pérez, who nodded it down for Rondón. His return pass gave the Spaniard the chance to lift a delicate pass over the Toffees’ backline to a now-unmarked Rondón, and his volley crept beneath Pickford to reduce the deficit.
Substitute Paul Dummett flicked a header over the bar soon after as Newcastle pushed for a leveller but Calvert-Lewin’s shot, which whistled past Dúbravka’s left-hand post, proved a reminder of the threat Silva’s men still posed.
Kenedy was introduced in place of Ritchie for the final quarter of an hour, and still United pressed. In the 80th minute, they got their reward. Miguel Almirón’s fierce drive was parried by Pickford and there was Pérez, following up to sweep home the equaliser.
But Benítez’s side weren’t finished; St. James’ Park was rocking and its team full of spirit. Three minutes later, when Hayden hooked the ball over the Everton defence, they had their chance to complete the turnaround. Rondón brought the ball down, the Toffees hesitated, and Pérez thumped the winner past Pickford to send the Magpies faithful wild and cap a memorable afternoon.