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Newcastle 2-1 Everton Instant reaction - Wilson double condemns Toffees to another defeat

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The Blues, weakened by injury and suspension, failed to get going at St James’ Park

Newcastle United v Everton - Premier League

The bubble has well and truly burst.

Everton could have gone back top with a win at Newcastle, but instead fell to a second successive defeat on the road as injuries and suspensions began to bite.

Two goals from Callum Wilson decided what was a pretty dreadful game of few chances, with Everton a shadow of the swashbuckling side we saw just a few week’s ago.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin pulled one back in stoppage-time, but it wasn’t enough to secure a point.

There were eyebrows raised before kick-off, with Carlo Ancelotti opting for Robin Olsen in goal ahead of Jordan Pickford, though the Toffees boss insisted he was being rested and would return against Manchester United next weekend.

Olsen was one of five changes with so many players out injured or suspended, with Niels Nkounkou making his first Premier League start and Jonjoe Kenny, Fabian Delph and Andre Gomes also coming into the side.

The first half was as we all feared - dull and turgid.

Newcastle looked to defend in numbers and hit on the counter while Everton, shorn of so many creative outlets, were slow and ponderous.

The two chances of the half fell to the home side. A long ball caught out Michael Keane on the turn and released Wilson, but his shot from a tight angle went well over.

Another counter again caught the Toffees short at the back as Allan Saint-Maximin broke clear, but his effort was well blocked by the onrushing Olsen.

Newcastle did open the scoring at the start of the second half thanks to a soft penalty, Andre Gomes catching Wilson as he attempted to clear a corner.

Former Bournemouth striker Wilson sent Olsen the wrong way from the spot for his fifth goal of the season.

Moments later, Sean Longstaff thought he had doubled the Magpies’ lead but his effort from close range was superbly blocked by Olsen.

Gylfi Sigurdsson sent an optimistic effort over while Calvert-Lewin sent a header straight at Karl Darlow as the Toffees pushed for an equaliser, but struggled to create any clear cut chances.

Bernard replaced the ineffective Gomes, while Cenk Tosun made his comeback from a serious knee injury when he came on for Nkounkou.

As Everton pushed forward spaces opened up at the back and a rapid counter produced the second goal, substitute Ryan Fraser sprinting clear of Yerry Mina, with his deflected cross forced home by Wilson on the line.

Calvert-Lewin’s close range finish made it for a nervy finale, with Bernard going close with a cross that very nearly looped over Darlow in the last minute of stoppage-time.

There was not to be a repeat of the previous meeting between the sides, however, as the Magpies clung on.

The result highlights just how paper thin Everton’s squad is. With no Richarlison or James Rodriguez their creative output dipped alarmingly.

The penalty was soft and the second came as Everton committed men forward, but the Toffees did not do enough as an attacking force to deserve the points.

With Manchester United next up, the likes of James and Lucas Digne cannot come back quick enough.