A first half lead courtesy of an own goal from Lascelles was quickly reversed and the home side dominated the second half to sink the Blues and heighten the concerns of a relegation fight with Alain Saint-Maximin in scintillating form for the home side.
After the euphoric start to his tenure as manager of Everton, Frank Lampard knew that Tuesday’s trip to St.James’s Park was a vital six-pointer for his side with the aim being a big step towards securing Premier League status.
Newcastle without a Premier League game since a 1-0 win away at Leeds on January 22nd have been to Saudi Arabia for warm weather training and were therefore better rested than Everton who’d played in the FA Cup on Saturday. And having had a busy time in the January transfer window, Eddie Howe looks to have strengthened his roster with the additions of defender Kieran Trippier from Atletico Madrid, central defender Dan Burn from Brighton, striker Chris Wood from Burnley and midfielder Bruno Guimaraes from Lyon before ending their business with the loan signing from Aston Villa of defender Matt Targett.
However, it isn’t all good news for the former Bournemouth and Burnley boss as despite their jaunt to Saudi, his selection to face the Blues was hampered by the unavailability of leading scorer Callum Wilson, Paul Dummett, Matt Richie and Federico Fernandez, and new signing Dan Burn had a toe that ruled him out too.
Howe noted on the impact Frank Lampard had on Everton, “Every new manager naturally changes the dynamic slightly and asks his players to do slightly different things. I think Frank will have his philosophy and his way of playing, and I think that was quite evident against Brentford – I think we saw a team that was playing out from the back, comfortable in possession and certainly attacked very well on the day. I fully respect Frank, I know him well. I think he’s an outstanding manager and he’s got a great backroom team with him – really astute people, clever people that have gone in behind him to work with him and the players. I think they have a strong management team, a strong team on the pitch so – as always in every Premier League game – we’re going to have to be at our very best to win.”
Knowing a victory over Everton would lift his side out of the bottom three, Eddie Howe named his starting eleven: Dubravka, Trippier, Schaer, Lascelles (c), Targett, Shelvey, Willock, Joelinton, Fraser, Saint-Maximin and Wood.
The first task for Everton and Frank Lampard was for the side he selected to maintain the effort and commitment levels demonstrated in the Cup against Brentford, and with Anwar El Ghazi, Dele Alli and Donny van de Beek to add to the squad together with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, he had options to use from the start or the substitutes bench. The one downside for Frank was the loss of Ben Godfrey with a hamstring injury however, he did have defensive cover available, if needed, in the shape of Jarrad Branthwaite and transfer window signing Nathan Patterson from Rangers.
Speaking immediately after the Brentford Cup tie, Frank Lampard clearly had his mind on the trip to Newcastle when he noted, “I won’t be getting carried away with one win in the FA Cup, we have big games coming ahead in the league, it’s important the players keep level-headed.”
And after the weekend and having reviewed the game and discussed things with his coaching team, the new manager said, “Watching the game back, there are certainly things that we can improve on and that’s only normal. It’s up to us what that looks like – how we get the message across, how the players take it on, how the confidence builds. We know where we want to go and the players are very aware of that but, these things do need time, so we have to get results as we work on that.”
He expanded further adding, “Our front three (against Brentford) were very, very mobile in their play – all offering different attributes but, I loved the way all three of them were able to come between lines to receive the ball, but also force defenders back and have the idea that they want to run in behind as well.
That was great to see. That’s how I want my teams to play. Then, when you add in the players who either didn’t start at the weekend and, obviously, Dele, Donny van de Beek and Anwar El Ghazi, we have options. It’s up to me to make sure we get the balance of the team right but, the fans and myself want to see a team that’s exciting in the way they want to play and aggressive in the way they attack – that’s how I remember the great Everton teams growing up. That’s what I’ll try to deliver.”
With another sold-out travelling support to roar them on, Super Frank named his first Everton Premier League starting line-up: Pickford, Coleman (c), Mina, Keane, Holgate, Townsend, Gomes, Allan, Gordon, Gray and Richarlison.
Our referee was the follically challenged Anthony Taylor.
The home crowd immediately got on the back of Jordan Pickford, something he’s grown accustomed to being a former Sunderland player, before a loose pass from Mina gave the baldy-headed Shelvey an early shot that rose to clear the crossbar. The home side were keen to press Everton back in the early exchanges, eager to win the ball back and looking to get crosses in from wide positions.
A couple of decent moves from the Blues saw them move the ball quickly with one touch passing involving Allan, Gomes, Gordon, Gray and Townsend and Newcastle needed to funnel men back behind the ball to keep the Blues at bay. Coleman getting forward down the right fired a cross that Townsend got on the end of but, couldn’t direct his header on target.
Anthony Gordon with a timely intervention prevented Shelvey getting a clean shot away after Saint-Maximin had dispossessed Gomes and a couple of minutes later, more crisp passing led to Gray finding Richarlison to spin away from his marker but, send his low shot across the face of goal and wide… twelve minutes gone, pretty even so far.
Mason Holgate was booked in the 14th minute after winning the tackle but catching Ryan Fraser with his trailing leg, the former Bournemouth midfielder needing treatment before carrying on. Trippier took the free kick and the header from Wood was easily gathered by Pickford as the offside flag was raised. Newcastle wasted another free kick and nice footwork from Gomes got the Blues moving forward, linking well with Gordon.
Everton won the first corner of the game after another move of quick passing ended with a shot from Townsend being deflected behind. The set piece from Gray found the head of Mina but, his header sailed high and wide. The early high tempo of the opening exchanges had subsided somewhat, Everton enjoying slightly more of the possession and looking to build their attacks with crisp interplay with everyone looking to play their part.
More good work in midfield from Gordon saw him win the ball from Willock and launch another attack that sadly ended with Demarai Gray going down and leaving the game on 24 minutes to be replaced by Dele Alli.
Coleman latching onto a poor header from Lascelles burst forward to gain the bye-line and cross but too high and long for Richarlison and as Newcastle looked to counter, Mina cleverly impeded Saint-Maximin to halt the home sides progress.
Half an hour gone and Everton marginally the better side but, neither goalie having been called into serious action, although Richarlison netted from close range after a lobbed pass from Dele, but he was a mile offside. The tedious booing of Pickford continued unabated and Mina went down off the ball as Newcastle attacked and Pickford blocked the shot from Joelinton. As Everton looked to counter down then left, Shelvey the yarddog hit Anthony Gordon with what can only be described as an agricultural challenge and he was rightly booked. After receiving some treatment, Mina walked off and Jarrad Branthwaite replaced him on 35 minutes, to take up station on the left side of the defence with Holgate switching to his more natural right hand side.
And from the restart, Everton took the lead as the free kick from Gordon fell nicely to Mason Holgate and his close range effort was cleared off the line by Targett only to find the back of the Newcastle net off Lascelles. The lead though was extremely shortlived as a corner to Newcastle found Lascelles, his crunching header rebounded off the bar and into the net off the thigh of Holgate, two goals in two minutes and both own goals.
Saint-Maximin won another corner for the Magpies as he tried to dribble his way into the Everton penalty area, Trippier swung it into the six yard area, it was partially cleared and a mishit shot bounced up well for Wood whose very tame header was easily gathered by Pickford.
Cancelling out the Blues lead so quickly had definitely lifted the home side and they finished the half the stronger with Branthwaite conceding a third corner deflecting a header from Fraser behind. Everton defended the corner and as half time loomed, Allan mishit a cross out for a goal kick and three added minutes were announced.
Newcastle poured forward in search of the half time lead and Joelinton made a complete hash of a clear shooting opportunity and a headed clearance from Anthony Gordon saw the referee call time.
Half Time: 1-1
No further changes to the playing staff on view and the Blues set about attacking the Leazes Park End where the travelling support where ensconced in the oxygen depleted heights of the seventh floor.
Andre Gomes with an early booking for a foul on Saint-Maximin and the resulting free kick caused a momentary issue before Richarlison got the ball away to safety. Coleman with a good interception to gain the midfield and release Richarlison down the right wing only to be absolutely clattered by Schaer who was lucky only to see yellow for another agricultural challenge. Lascelles headed the Townsend free kick behind for a corner that led to Gordon curling in a shot that Dubravka saved well.
Newcastle snuffed out a chance that fell for Dele as he momentarily eluded his marker and Saint-Maximin again went down to win a free kick as the home side looked to counter quickly. Trippier clipped the ball into the area where Branthwaite got the header and a knock from Pickford too for his troubles.
Jarrad was okay to continue after a few moments but from the restart, Newcastle got forward in numbers on a lost ball by Dele with Saint-Maximin getting to the bye-line to cross and Fraser squeezed the ball home to put the Magpies ahead on 56 minutes.
Everton got forward and Richarlison won a free kick just outside the Newcastle area, the shot from Richarlison hitting the wall and rebounding to Branthwaite who saw his first time effort fly straight into the waiting arms of Dubravka. Everton made their third and final change with Donny van de Beek replacing Andre Gomes on 59 minutes. Holgate with a good header on a cross from Trippier but, a foul by Dele gave the home side a free kick wide right and Trippier could only find the clearing head of Richarlison.
Two miskicks from Pickford and Branthwaite raised jeers from the home crowd as a cheap corner was given away, Trippier again with the set piece, Pickford easily gathering the weak header from Schaer. Everton were conceding too many free kicks and corners, handing the impetus and initiative to the home side far too easily – and the latest corner led to Saint-Maximin firing a cross through the Everton area and out for a goal kick.
Twenty minutes to play and Everton needed to find more quality in their play if they were to salvage a result from the game, and they put together a move of over 30 passes that saw shots from Gordon and van de Beek blocked and eventually petering out for a goal kick to Newcastle. Lascelles with an excellent tackle stopped Townsend getting on the end of a good ball from Gordon while Branthwaite maintained his composure to block a cross from Saint-Maximin before a coming together between him and Gordon.
Saint-Maximin was proving a real thorn in the side of Everton as he jinked in off the left flank to crash a low shot through that Pickford parried and Wood netted only to be ruled offside. Allan became the third Everton player to be booked for bringing down Fraser, and Trippier bent a quality free kick around the Everton wall and just inside the near post to give the home side a two-goal cushion with only ten minutes plus added-on time remaining.
Newcastle made their first change with Fraser replaced by Murphy on 82 minutes and a ball over the top for Richarlison was just too strong for the Brazilian who had worked tirelessly all night but, had been far too often isolated up front. And a breakdown in communication between him and Dele Alli brought more jeers from the home crowd as Dubravka gathered the loose ball.
Saint-Maximin again tore the hole in the middle of the Blues to unselfishly play in Murphy who saw his shot beat Pickford and connon back off the post to Willock who shot straight at the Everton keeper.
In the final minute, Newcastle made two changes giving a cameo substitution appearance to Bruno Guimaraes replacing Willock for the final moments, and Manquillo replaced Trippier. Four added minutes were announced, and once again it was Saint-Maximin causing mayhem for Everton who had Pickford to thank for him not adding a fourth goal at the expense of a corner.