Newcastle United 1 Everton 2
- Lee Mason
Newcastle United lost a Premier League game at St. James’ Park for the first time since the opening weekend of the season as a Dominic Calvert-Lewin brace secured victory for Everton.
In new boss Carlo Ancelotti’s first away game in charge, frontman Calvert-Lewin opened the scoring with a poacher’s finish inside the opening quarter of an hour.
However, in a game which ebbed and flowed, the Magpies displayed some positive signs in the attacking third, and got back on level terms through Fabian Schär early into the second half.
United looked the likelier to go on and win it after equalising, but they were undone by a swift Toffees move – polished off by Calvert-Lewin – just after the hour mark.
And having struck late to beat both Southampton and Crystal Palace at St. James’ Park in recent weeks, the Magpies were unable to repeat the trick in their final outing of 2019, going down to a second defeat in the space of 48 hours.
They could easily have taken the lead just 40 seconds in. The returning DeAndre Yedlin picked out Joelinton with a searching pass through the centre, and the Brazilian took a couple of strides forward before playing Miguel Almirón through on goal. The Paraguayan had the chance to go across the ‘keeper first-time, but he ended up firing harmlessly wide of the near post after giving Michael Keane the opportunity to track back.
Having survived that early scare, Everton shored up, and started to apply some pressure of their own. Defender Mason Holgate took aim after a corner was only half-cleared, with Martin Dúbravka off his line quickly to block the goal-bound strike. Two minutes later, Almirón tripped Leighton Baines 20 yards out, affording Gylfi Sigurðsson the chance to try his luck with a free kick. The Icelandic international’s effort was blocked by the wall but rebounded straight back into his path, and his deflected ball back into the danger area was swept home by Calvert-Lewin.
The Magpies looked a little ragged for a long while after that, with Everton enjoying almost all of the ball. Out of nowhere, though, they nearly drew level just before the half-hour mark. A fine bit of footwork from Jetro Willems helped carve out a shooting opportunity for Almirón, who struck the base of the post with a vicious left-footed strike. Then, with United starting to get something of a foothold, Isaac Hayden volleyed narrowly over the top from 20 yards.
That little period proved the spark for a bright end to the half for Newcastle. Schär brought a decent parry out of Jordan Pickford with a rasping right-footed strike, before Joelinton set Almirón away on goal again with a clever first-time pass. Composure deserted the Magpies attacker at the vital moment, though, and he failed to trouble Pickford after slicing his shot.
The interval perhaps came at the wrong time for United, who made a sloppy start to the second half. Dúbravka was twice called into action to deny Moise Kean, the first stop a particularly brave one after the young Italian momentarily found himself through one-on-one.
But with their first real opportunity after the break, the Magpies restored parity. Theo Walcott impeded Willems deep on the left, allowing the Dutchman to deliver an inviting free kick towards the back post. And just as he did for United’s last goal at St. James’ – against Crystal Palace seven days earlier – Andy Carroll provided another fine assist, nodding the ball down for Schär to steer into the far corner.
At that point, all the momentum appeared to be with Steve Bruce’s side, with the home crowd sensing further blood. A high-press approach forced Everton into one or two moments of panic at the back, but it also proved United’s downfall. After 64 minutes, they were undone on the break, as Richarlison outpaced Lejeune on the right before putting the ball on a plate for Calvert-Lewin, although the finish he produced was a scruffy one.
Bruce responded by making a double substitution, withdrawing Lejeune and Joelinton and introducing both Christian Atsu and Dwight Gayle. Set-plays continued to look like the Magpies’ best chance of finding an equaliser, though, with Everton shipping two more free kicks in threatening positions as the game moved into its closing stages. Willems swung in both, but the visitors managed to avert the danger.
And that was as good as it got for United late on, with the Toffees ultimately seeing out the remaining exchanges – including four minutes of stoppage time – with relative ease.