A well deserved win for Steve Bruce’s Mags, with a Callum Wilson brace, an industrious midfield display and some rock solid defending seeing us beat Everton 2-1 at St James’ Park.
Here’s our assessment of each player’s performance along with a mark out of 10:
Darlow – 7 – A nervous start as he gave the ball away twice in the first fifteen minutes; which could’ve been costly. His distribution might’ve been poor – but his shot-stopping and ability to command his box was solid once again. When Everton did test him, he was equal to every effort – including their attacking onslaught in the final few moments. His tip over from Bernard’s looping cross and catch from the final Everton corner was heroic!
Murphy – 8 – Looks so comfortable in that right-wing back role. Some lovely link up with Wilson in the build up to Sean Longstaff’s big chance but it was his defending that impressed me today. Much has been made of Nkounkou’s attacking prowess ahead of his Everton debut, but Murphy kept him silent today in an assured display!
Schar – 7 – The Swiss star looks a lot more comfortable in a back five and showed that once again today. His quality on the ball helped us enjoy a bit more possession or release attackers on the counter, and he didn’t hide from battles with Calvert-Lewin and Co at the other end, either. Solid.
Lascelles – 7 – Much had been made of his fitness in the build up to this game, but he passed a late fitness test and put in a steady display at the heart of our back five. Aside from the odd shaky moment, his presence and power was key in keeping Calvert-Lewin quiet before his late strike.
Fernandez – 8 – Another rock solid defensive display by Fernandez. He switched off for Calvert-Lewin’s late goal, but he generally dealt with the England international both in the air and on the floor. Headed away balls into the box, made a few crucial blocks and timed several crunching tackles to perfection.
Lewis – 7.5 – The promising left-back has had a cagey start to his Newcastle career but his performance today was perhaps his best in a black and white shirt. He was solid defensively, as well as being tidy in possession throughout. His brilliant ball down the line for Fraser in the build up to the second-goal was perfectly weighted and just shows how effective he can be when given the opportunity to go forward! Without that pass, we might’ve come away from this one with a point.
S Longstaff – 8 – I was so impressed with Longstaff today, who looked like the player we all know he can be for the first time in a long while. He’s often looked lost this season, under confident or as if he’s treading water under Bruce, but his passing today was accurate, he worked tirelessly against the usually dominant Allan and Doucoure and got about the pitch very well – whether it be to protect our back line or burst into the box. He was really unfortunate not to score, with Olsen’s brilliant save narrowly denying him. One of the unsung heroes from today’s win and great to see him back at it!
Hendrick – 7 – The Irishman has been criticised for his performances in recent weeks but he did a solid job today. He rarely gave the ball away, kept things ticking and got in amongst an Everton engine room that has dominated most midfield’s so far this season. Unspectacular, but did a solid job in between Longstaff and Almiron.
Almiron – 8 – Another performance that makes Bruce’s decision to leave him out earlier this season all the more baffling. He was a constant nuisance on both ends, winning free kicks, corners, setting us away on the counter and persistently frustrating the visitors with his energy and pace. His best moment of the game came in the build up for Saint-Maximin’s massive chance – as he easily burst past Allan and Gomes before playing in Wilson. I don’t see any reason why Bruce will drop him in the future!
Saint-Maximin – 6.5 – I’m not sure whether I enjoy watching him in his new central role. He can often look isolated with his back to goal and is far easier to mark than he is when played out wide. He had his moments in the second half via some mazy runs, but should’ve done better with his big chance in the first, hitting his shot straight at Olsen after being put clean through on goal. Replaced by Ryan Fraser in with 20 minutes to play and below his best.
Wilson – 9 – Early on, I was really impressed with his ability to mix it against a much taller Keane and Mina, with him winning his fair share of duels against both. His pressing and pace tormented the latter all afternoon and he would’ve bagged himself a sublime assist had ASM finished his big chance in the first 45. That would’ve been enough to get him a high rating, but he also scored twice! The penalty showed just how confident he is, and he showed his priceless predatory instincts to poke the ball home at the back post for his second. Six goals in seven games, we really couldn’t ask much more of him!
Fraser – 7.5 – He would’ve felt hard done by to be dropped this week after an industrial showing against Wolves, and his impact was instant today. His pace is electrifying and he exploded past Mina before assisting Wilson in what was eventually the winner. Competition in any side is good, and he’s knocking on the door for a start!
Hayden– N/A – Came on for Almiron with 10 minutes to play to give us that extra bit of height and protection in front of the back four.
Carroll – N/A – The odd bit of decent hold up during his 5 minutes on the pitch. Won a few decent headers during a late Everton onslaught – although one of them was mistimed but thankfully straight at Darlow!