Everton played the part of New Year party poopers to perfection last night as they ran out 2-1 winners at St James’ Park.
Goals from Leighton Baines and Victor Anichebe cancelled out an early opener from Papiss Cisse and gave Davide Moyes’ side the three points on the night.
In truth I’d say a draw might have been a fair result and Martin Atkinson can feel proud that he’s won the away side the match for them. Don’t get me wrong, there was nothing wrong with the Everton goals and what turned out to be the winner was as a result of yet more shoddy defending from the home side, but the decision to award Everton the free-kick which yielded their equaliser was weak and was the kind of the decision Newcastle didn’t get any of on the night.
It all started brightly for the home side who made a cracking start after Tim Krul lumped the ball up front only for the Everton defence to get mixed underneath allowing Papiss Cisse to steal in and nod over Tim Howard to give United the lead.
It could have been two moments later when Shola Ameobi’s flashed ball across the face of goal just eluded Papiss Cisse and perhaps should have been two when James Perch nodded onto the post. Vurnon Anita also went close as he just missed out getting on the end of Davide Santon’s cross.
However despite the early onslaught Everton were by no means out of it. They pressed forward and applied pressure without really threatening our goal but that changed just two minutes from half-time when Martin Atkinson adjudged Fabricio Coloccini to have barged into the back of Marouane Fellaini. With the ball some 35-yards away from goal the threat didn’t look to obvious until Leighton Baines unleashed a beautiful free-kick that flew past Tim Krul into the back of the Leazes End net.
The free-kick was amazing, but the award of the foul in the first place was baffling. Just minutes prior to that Shola Ameobi was brought down in the box yet nothing was given by the man who sat by and did nothing whilst Hatem Ben Arfa had his leg smashed to bits by Nigel de Jong. Go figure…
Shola Ameobi was brought down early in the second half with Sylvain Marveaux blasting the resulting free-kick against the wall, but the two very nearly combined shortly afterwards after Marveaux lobbed a ball over the top for Shola who controlled at the first attempt only to prod wide with his second touch.
Newcastle were trying to make things happen but in the end that was to be our downfall as Nikica Jelavić broke down the left and dazzled Coloccini with some neat stepovers before crossing the ball for Victor Anichebe who timed his run into the box superbly and thumped the ball past Krul to give the away side the leadwith 30 minutes remaining.
Far from bringing on an onslaught, Everton’s goal seemed to shock the home side who became more and more desperate as time went on. Gabriel Obertan went close as did Davide Santon, both testing Tim Howard at his near post. Papiss Cisse also got on the end of a Vurnon Anita cross only to see his header cleared and his effort on the rebound fall straight to Howard whilst Santon also failed to pick out an unmarked Cisse who would have surely levelled the scores from eight yards out.
It wasn’t to be though and United slumped to yet another defeat. The FA Cup this weekend will offer us an almost welcome distraction before travelling to Norwich in just over a week to take on former manager Chris Hughton, where hopefully we’ll have Yohan Cabaye, Steven Taylor and Mathieu Debuchy available for selection.
Howay the lads!
Newcastle: Tim Krul, James Perch, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Davide Santon, Cheick Tiote, Vurnon Anita, Papiss Cisse, Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan, Shola Ameobi
Subs: Rob Elliot, James Tavernier, Shane Ferguson, Gael Bigirimana, Mehdi Abeid, Sammy Ameobi, Nile Ranger
Everton: Tim Howard (G) Phil Jagielka, John Heitinga, Sylvain Distin, Leighton Baines, Steven Naismith, Phil Neville, Leon Osman, Steven Pienaar, Marouane Fellaini, Nikica Jelavic
Subs: Jan Mucha, Shane Duffy, Thomas Hitzlsperger, Bryan Oviedo, Magaye Gueye, Victor Anichebe, Apostolos Vellios