Ross Barkley marked his 100th Premier League appearance with two late penalties to help Everton secure a welcome 3-0 win against Newcastle at Goodison Park.
Aaron Lennon opened the scoring midway through the first period with Barkley eventually sealing the victory and capping a fine individual display with two late penalties
Spirits were raised pre-kick off with the news that Tim Howard was ruled out through injury meaning Joel Robles was to continue in goal.
Deadline day signing Oumar Niasse was also introduced to the Goodison crowd, though the £13.5m man will have to wait until Saturday to make his debut.
Everton began the game like they were eager to prove a point after some indifferent recent displays on their home turf, most recently against Swansea 10 days ago.
The first chance fell to Tom Cleverley, the midfielder collecting Romelu Lukaku’s layoff and drilling in a low shot that Rob Elliot did well to palm away.
Cleverley was involved in Everton’s opener on 23 minutes, collecting the ball on the left of the penalty area before passing to Lennon, who turned before firing a low shot through a crowd of players and beyond a wrong-footed Elliot.
Lennon could and perhaps should have doubled the advantage just before the break but his shot from Seamus Coleman’s cutback was well blocked by Chancel Mbemba.
Still, with Newcastle offering nothing offensively Everton could be pretty satisfied going into the break.
They suffered a blow at the start of the second half though with Lukaku unable to continue due to a back injury and replaced by Arouna Kone.
Kone had an early chance to make an impression but he blazed over when well placed after Lennon’s shot was parried away.
Elliot in the Newcastle goal was having an increasingly impressive game and had to be at his best to superbly tip away Barkley’s long-range drive onto the top of the crossbar.
Moment’s later Cleverley’s free-kick into the box looped goalwards off the head of Jonjo Shelvey with Elliot doing well again to tip over.
Cleverley then tried to catch Elliot out with a disguised free-kick towards goal but the Newcastle stopper again was at his best to palm away at full stretch.
Newcastle were on the wrack but the longer it went on without a second goal the nervier the crowd became.
Steve McClaren’s side fed off those nerves and came back into it, substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic had a glorious chance to equalise when he lost a sleeping Funes Mori but he couldn’t force his shot goalwards.
Ayoze Perez then saw his volley parried away by Robles after Everton struggled to clear from a corner.
Evertonians finally had the chance to rest easy when the ever-willing Lennon was fouled by Rolando Aarons in the area with two minutes left.
With no Lukaku, Leighton Baines or Kevin Mirallas on the pitch, Barkley stepped up to send Elliot the wrong way and seal the points.
Newcastle’s heads then dropped dramatically as the Toffees surged forward looking for more.
Barkley saw his shot deflect just wide before setting up another chance for Kone that the Ivorian could only slice over.
Everton did have the chance to make it three though when Jamaal Lascelles brought down Barkley inside the area.
Lascelles was sent off for the professional foul while Barkley saved the best until last by dispatching a beautiful ‘penenka’ penalty into the roof of the net.
After the woes of Swansea and Man City, Everton’s spluttering campaign has finally shown some signs on life.
Lets hope they can maintain that momentum at the Britannia Stadium against Stoke on Saturday.