Newcastle played Everton this afternoon knowing that they needed to win to stand any chance of qualifying for the Champions League.
Well now I actually wonder if they did know? You see the performance today was weak to say the least, which was unexpected when you consider what could have been on offer.
As it stands a win for us wouldn’t have mattered anyway, and fifth is still a mighty fine effort from the lads after 38 games, but to give such a disappointing performance in the first half is difficult to take. Everton shouldn’t have anything taken away from them as they were excellent in that first period and gave us no room to do anything in.
Goals from Steven Pienaar and Nikica Jelavic were enough to give Everton a deserved 2-0 lead at half-time although I still maintain we made it easy for Everton to press the game by failing to play our own.
The second half arrived and Newcastle were much improved. Sylvain Marveaux and Ryan Taylor replaced Davide Santon and James Perch and almost immediately you could see that the changes worked in our favour, although in fairness it wasn’t hard to improve from what was a dire first half performance.
Papiss Cisse missed pretty much an open goal, Hatem Ben Arfa scuffed a shot wide and Demba Ba shot straight at Tim Howard as the visitors pressed and probed for a way back into the game.
However it was Everton who scored the next, and decisive, goal when John Heitinga made the most of a static Mike Williamson and Fabricio Coloccini and easily headed home from six yards out.
Brief hope was restored shortly after as the visitors pulled one back courtesy of a Tony Hibbert own goal, but no comeback was on the cards this time and the game petered out.
Everton were impressive today and the result made it nine games without defeat for David Moyes’ side. They were confident and that showed, and in truth there was only going to be one winner in this contest.
Which makes you wonder why Tim Cahill had to act like a knob right at the end and earn himself a red card AFTER the final whistle. He lost his head but then the same must be said for Yohan Cabaye who was on the egde of losing it all game and actually did when a ballboy failed to do his job properly and give Cabaye the ball back.
A fine season has ended on a sour note for us, but we’ll be back, especially if players like Sylvain Marveaux can stay fit. Considering today was his first appearance in six months he done rather well and showed some great skill and vision. Unfortunately it came to nothing in the end but it was promising all the same.
In summary, what a season!
Everton: Tim Howard, Tony Hibbert, John Heitinga, Phila Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Darron Gibson, Phil Neville, Leon Osman, Steven Pienaar, Maraouane Fellaini, Nikica Jelavic
Subs: Jan Mucha, Denis Stracqualursi, Tim Cahill, Magaye Gueye, Seamus Coleman, Ross Barkley, Sylvain Distin
Newcastle: Tim Krul; James Perch, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Davide Santon, Hatem Ben Arfa, Yohan Cabaye, Cheik Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez, Demba Ba, Papiss Cisse
Subs: Rob Elliot, Shane Ferguson, Ryan Taylor, Dan Gosling, Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan, Shola Ameobi
P.S – Troy Stavers, you are now banned from attending away games!