Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure was back after completing a three-game suspension, while Amadou Onana was also back in the lineup after two games out with a groin injury. Seamus Coleman remained sidelined with a hamstring issue and Mason Holgate served his one-match ban.
Newcastle United defender Fabian Schar made it back in time after he sustained a hamstring injury against Tottenham although Dan Burns was a late scratch. Allan Saint-Maximin remained out but Bruno Guimaraes was a last minute decision and was in the lineup.
The blue smoke billowed along the Goodison Road as the team bus arrived. The crowd was electric and as the air raid siren signaled the arrival of the teams, the 12th man was clearly in the building. Everton fed off that energy and were on the front foot from the start. It was 100 miles an hour for the first ten minutes until Idrissa Gueye was brought down on the edge of the box. Surprisingly, he was the free kick taker and his attempt went just over the bar.
Everton were bossing the game with their possession at 62%, but it was a quick break by Newcastle which saw Pickford palm the ball into the path of Callum Wilson who was happy to blast it into the net. It was his 7th goal against Everton in only 10 matches. The game was slowed down by Newcastle which took the heat out of the match. Three additional minutes were booed by the Goodison faithful after so much time wasting by the magpies. A positive start turned to frustration and the offside call when Calvert-Lewin dinked the ball into the net over Nick Pope didn’t help that feeling.
The second half kicked off with Everton heading towards the Gwladys Street End. It was a slow start for the Blues but they grew in stature and both Calvert-Lewin and Doucoure had chances. Newcastle were doing everything to slow things down and Sean Longstaff was becoming the villain as he was on the ground for most of the half. The rirst real chance fell to Joe Willock but his curling shot was brilliantly palmed away by Pickford.
With less than 20 minutes to go it was another break down the wing by Joe Willock who crossed it into the box and this time Joelinton headed it past Pickford. The hush that descended over Goodison was eery. Moments later it was Callum Wilson again who curled the shot and Goodison Park was emptying before the ball was kicked off again. Newcastle piled forward as the confidence grew and Everton scrambled to find answers to the questions.
A corner from Dwight McNeil got through everyone and tucked into the back of the net. The interest returned for less than a minute for Alexander Isaak to dance alone the touchline and give Jacob Murphy the easy tap in at the far post. The game was done and dusted and Eddie Howe, the Evertonian, thought it was a good idea to rub salt in the wound by bringing on Anthony Gordon for the last five minutes. His introduction was booed but there were only about 10,000 left in the ground and most of them were Geordies.
Everton Man of the Match: Not Ben Godfrey
When Sean Dyche was first in charge, Abdoulaye Doucoure was positioned as the most advanced support for the lone striker. At the start of the match he was sitting further back but as the game progressed he pushed up and was the additional pressure on the press which was very effective. It forced the game and kept Newcastle off balance. Unfortunately, the additional support for Calvert-Lewin was never enough as the attack was so centralized.
In the first half, the chances that Everton took were mostly from distance and Nick Pope had little difficulty with them. They had 9 shots on target with 4 on net. The xg for the half was only 0.49. In order to penetrate there needs to be more touches in the final third. The lack of play down the wings was very obvious and the chances were all from distance. Newcastle’s first two goals were delivered from the wing and their clinical finishes were the difference.
Ben Godfrey was at fault for the first two Newcastle goals. He won only 3 of 10 ground duels, one of two aerial duels and he lost possession 10 times and was beaten 4 times in the match. He is not a right back and his confidence as a defender is disappearing because he is not being given the chance to play where he belongs....in the middle. Why is Nathan Patterson on the bench who is a natural right back/wing back? Also, how we have missed our captain, Seamus Coleman.
A relegation fight is about getting results. Yesterday, Nottingham Forest got a result which put even more pressure on Everton. Newcastle have been in great form but in reality there was not a time when Nick Pope and Newcastle looked like they were going to be troubled. Few gave Everton any chance and in reality this came to pass. The game at Leicester just becomes even more critical. Two points from safety and three points on the line.....Enough said.