Chances are without Johnny Heitinga trying to take a lump out of Sylvain Marveaux we may not have seen him come off at all.
Worrying as it was to see, to the surprise of many people it was not Hatem Ben Arfa who replaced him.
Instead the opportunity fell the way of young Sammy Ameobi, given nearly a full half in front of the home crowd in a testing game to show what he was made of, and by all accounts he didn’t let us down.
As a character I personally like the lad a lot. He seems a really good lad with the right attitude and he has an experienced and loyal brother there to keep his feet firmly on the ground. On more than one occasion this past year I have thought the likes of Nile Ranger could do with taking a leaf out of his book.
As a player however, I still had my doubts up until Saturday. Any time I have seen him, although it was clear to see he had potential, he looked as raw as I have ever seen a player looking to break into the first team set up.
He had all the qualities to be a very good player in the future no doubt but every one of those qualities needed improvement as far as I could see before I would even consider throwing him in the deep end and I was expecting a poor performance if I’m honest against a good Everton side with quality players on the wings.
Near the end of the game he did show a glimpse of inexperience in not heading to the corner flag and ended up giving the ball back to Tim Howard instead of leaving it roll away and the clock tick down, but in fairness to the lad that is literally all I could say in terms of picking holes in his performance.
I was really impressed with how Sammy played on Saturday. He took at number of runs at Tony Hibbert at vital times, taking the pressure off and more than that, caused Everton allsorts of problems at a period in the game where the last thing they wanted to be doing was defending.
His pace clearly scared the life out of Hibbert and Sammy identified as much straight away, taking every opportunity to take him on, not only taking the pressure off but winning us a couple of throw ins and corners deep into enemy territory, giving a clearly jaded defence a much needed breather in the final third of the game especially.
I was really impressed with one run in particular, when he carried the ball all of fifty yards, fainting inside then out of Hibbert, changing pace twice before digging out a top quality cross when it looked like he had run out of pitch to run into.
From a defensive point of view he showed surprising maturity in always tracking back and giving Ryan Taylor a hand when Everton were really looking to push for the equaliser and was a great out ball along with Hatem Ben Arfa in mounting counter attacks when Everton were short at the back.
I fully expect Alan Pardew to give him some credit for the performance publicly in the coming days and it is well deserved. He done an awful lot to dispel some of the concerns I had about him on Saturday and showed that if required he can come in and do a good job and not be a liability, and now of course Stuart Pearce has drafted him into the England U21 setup which will only serve to improve the lad further.
For the rest of the youngsters looking to take a step up and figure this season, namely the likes of Shane Ferguson, Mehdi Abeid, Haris Vuckic and maybe James Tavernier, it showed once more that Pardew is a keen supporter of giving youth a chance and if they show the right attitude and dedication to improve they will get their opportunity to shine.
As far as Sammy is concerned I think his performance against Everton will do him the world of good confidence wise and he has done himself no harm at all in terms of being considered in future as an impact sub.
If he keeps it up he has a bright future on Tyneside and in the short term only adds to the strength and depth we are starting to see in our squad and is yet another player who will keep the first-team players on their toes.