Newcastle United 1 - 2 Everton
If a hugely encouraging 2012 had come to a frustrating close, Everton ushered in 2013 with a bang, overcoming another partially self-inflicted early wound to level the game with a stunning Leighton Baines free kick and then win it in the second half with a determined victory over Newcastle United at St James' Park.
Sunday's defeat to Chelsea, only their seventh in the previous calendar year, felt like a kick to the groin given how much the Blues had put into the game only to find Lady Luck looking the other way, but despite continuing problems with injuries, David Moyes's side bounced back immediately to reclaim fifth place in the Premier League and start the year just two points off the Champions League places.
In the context of the disappointment at the weekend and Papisse Cissé's second-minute goal, this was a big performance from Everton and an equally important result. Darron Gibson and Kevin Mirallas were missing from the midfield and Phil Jagielka had to deputise at right back again in the injured Seamus Coleman's absence, but Marouane Fellaini made a crucial return to the starting XI following a three-match ban.
Though not at his most effective overall, the Belgian was a constant thorn in the Magpies' side and he was instrumental in the move that led to the winning goal on the hour mark from substitute Victor Anichebe.
That goal from the substitute capped a laudable recovery by the Blues from more sloppy defending early on that had gifted Cissé the opportunity to guide a looping header over the stranded Tim Howard. Tim Krul had launched a long ball forward, John Heitinga mis-timed his jump as he challenged Shola Ameobi and Cissé lost the otherwise superb Sylvain Distin to head home.
To their credit, though, Everton responded by taking the game by the scruff of the neck and not letting go until half time. For long periods, though, it looked as though Krul would single-handedly keep the Blues at bay. The Dutch keeper made a one-handed save at full stretch to turn Baines' free kick around the post after Chike Tiote had fouled Steven Pienaar in the sixth minute and he was off his line quickly to smother a close-range shot by the Blues' left back a minute later after Heitinga had sprung the offside trap with a long ball from the halfway line.
The visitors were employing a mixture of raking balls forward looking for Fellaini or the second ball and the quick, neat passing that has underpinned much of their success so far this season but they were much more effective with the ball on the ground. So it proved mid-way through the first half when Pienaar and Nikica Jelavic combined to create a clear opening but Fellaini seemed to hesitate a fraction too long and Davide Santon got across to block his goalbound shot.
A similarly good chance was orchestrated a few minutes later when Fellaini put Pienaar in behind the defence with a beautifully-weighted through-ball but Krul raced off his line and won the one-on-one face-off with a smart save.
In between, Everton survived a scare when James Perch headed a free kick off the post and Neville survived a convincing penalty claim by Ameobi as he tumbled under the midfielder's challenge in the box.
But when Fellaini went to ground under an apparently illegal challenge by Fabricio Coloccini, it set up an audacious direct free kick opportunity for Baines, one he grabbed with both hands with an explosive 30-yard shot that swerved beyond the wrong-footed Krul and bulged the net to send the Blues into the half-time break all square.
In truth, Everton emerged from the break lacking the intensity with which they had dominated the first after going behind and when Heitinga was rolled all too easily by Ameobi and picked up a booking for his trouble, Sylvain Marveaux hammered a free kick into the wall. But referee Martin Atkinson evened up the unawarded penalty claims when Steven Naismith was slammed to the ground by Tiote while the players jostled for a corner and Jelavic was caught near the eye by Coloccini's raised arm but nothing was given.
In the 57th minute, Ameobi was again a source of consternation in the Blues' defence when he took down Anita's impressive ball over the top but, thankfully, he flicked it wide of Howard's left-hand post from close range.
Three minutes after that, with Naismith having just been replaced by Anichebe, Everton went ahead with another flowing move on the counter-attack. Fellaini executed a trademark chest-down-and-pass that released the ever-industrious Jelavic down the left flank and he faked to cut inside before continuing his charge forward and fired a low pass across the six-yard box. Anichebe arrived on cue to slide it home emphatically with his first touch and silence the home crowd.
With half an hour to play, it would remain an uncomfortably slender lead but Newcastle would eventually run out of ideas, trying by turns to unsettle Heitinga with long balls forward or driving in from the flanks with pace. Gabriel Obertan was allowed to charge into the area with blue shirts backing off but Howard made an excellent stop with his legs to divert his shot behind for a corner and Cisse was denied twice in quick succession as his header from a deep cross hit Jagielka near the goalline and then Howard as he prodded the rebound goalwards from the floor.
Fellaini then made a mug of his marker by slipping the ball past him and rampaging towards the penalty area but tumbled in a tangle of legs in the "D" and Baines curled the resulting free kick inches wide of the post with Krul beaten.
Newcastle's best chance to grab a point was spurned, though, with just four minutes left of the regulation 90 when Santon was put clean through on the left side of the area with Howard in front of him and two black-and-white jerseys free in front of goal to his right. He elected to take the shot from the angle, one that the American beat away well for another corner, leaving his teammates lamenting his greed. A let-off for the Blues who would play out the remaining 10 minutes — six additional minutes were added for substitutions and a clash of heads between Neville and Anichebe — in relative comfort.
So, a huge win for Moyes and his men that gets them back to winning ways with their fourth away victory of the campaign. More than that, it keeps them fully in the hunt for Europe and adds a boost in morale for a group of players who have battled through a busy festive programme and picked up nine points from 12. Pienaar, Distin, Baines and Howard stood out for special praise but there were some tired legs on show in the second half and Moyes may make some judicious changes for the FA Cup tie at Cheltenham on Monday that will allow some rest for a few players who have run themselves ragged in recent games.
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733 Posted 03/01/2013 at 00:35:55
Must add, for all our talent injured/suspended, we remain the toughest top side to defeat.
51 points there to get. Pile em up gents.
777 Posted 03/01/2013 at 05:33:05
779 Posted 03/01/2013 at 07:18:54
Yet again the game could have ended in a draw. Visions of Fulham, Norwich and this lot at home sprung to mind.
Yet again attempting to play 'keep ball' and inevitably we lost possession inviting Newcastle to attack. Howard as much as anyone won us that game.
The need for a decent defensive midfielder and right winger is acute. I very much doubt Mirallas will play half the remaining games and no doubt Gibson is set for another two months plus spell on the sidelines.
Going by Moyes's recent record in the transfer market, it would take £10 million to secure the two signings needed, if Heitinga is sold and we do have a little cash over from August, would it really be asking too much to find the additional £4 million or so?
781 Posted 03/01/2013 at 07:22:06
Minuses — Heitinga; time to say bye bye... he doesn't seem to care, so why should we?
Naismith: he is quite clearly not a Premier League player, lousy first touch, bad positioning, can't hold the ball, poor distribution and he's had enough game time to adapt if he ever was going to.
And, sad to say, Jelavic: I know he made the cross for Vic's goal but apart from that he was as ineffective as he has been all season. Perhaps last season's player was the anomaly and this is his norm or maybe it's a close-season of 'track back' 'team effort' and other Moyes/Round training homilies that have turned an instinctive striker into a headless chicken.
783 Posted 03/01/2013 at 07:50:11
Super, super, super win - well done chaps!
790 Posted 03/01/2013 at 08:49:09
797 Posted 03/01/2013 at 09:49:47
Great goals by Baines and Anichebe ..... the series of passes to the latter were a treat to watch.
Great win.............. my wife's a Georgie!!!!!
801 Posted 03/01/2013 at 10:25:24
Towards the end when Newcastle were trying to rally, his holding of the ball, to run down the clock, was superb.
808 Posted 03/01/2013 at 10:59:55
810 Posted 03/01/2013 at 11:05:58
820 Posted 03/01/2013 at 11:39:44
The attitude of the former is disgraceful. Sylvain Distin deserves all the credit in the world for carrying Heitinga's lack of physical commitment and application and general "going through the motions". The sooner he is gone, the better.
As for Naismith, I am afraid words fail me. The poor guy is a complete and utter embarrassment who must surely be one of the most limited footballers ever to pull on an Everton shirt, and there have been quite a few, especially of late! His presence on the team drives me to distraction as it makes me berate David Moyes who quite frankly continues to perform wonders at Everton in so many ways.
Thus, with these two needing to be compensated for, what a blessing is Leighton Baines who – in all my near 60 years of watching Everton – is proving to be simply peerless. The lad is one of the few Everton players of recent times who would walk into ANY club team in the world. Balance, technical ability, pace, work ethic, honesty and integrity on the field – he is a complete and utter gem and a joy to watch.
Last night's efforts were Baines at his best. I would just love to know what the likes of himself and one or two others think when they are having to perform alongside the above two already mentioned, who for differing reasons, are not fit to even pull on the shirt.
836 Posted 03/01/2013 at 13:23:47
Cashley Cole isn't fit to clean his boots.
845 Posted 03/01/2013 at 13:54:45
He’s not for sale or rent
You can stick your fifty cents
No cash, no Cole, no Gareth Bale
There’s only one to hale
Five seven and cool as fuck
He brings us all the luck
His name is Leighton Baines
King of the left
847 Posted 03/01/2013 at 13:33:47
Our defensive lapses are appalling at this level but the quality and determination of the lads is ensuring we get points from games. Man Utd and Man City are the only teams with less defeats than us in the last 12 months so kudos to Moyes and the lads.
However like many other blues I cannot understand why Heitinga is in the middle with Jags at RB. Neither of them is doing the position justice. For me, Duffy would have been ideal in this game with the number of aerial balls.
I also think Oviedo is worthy of a place currently and would switch Peanuts to the right in place of Naismith who was very poor last night and put Oviedo there with Baines as most teams have figured out the Baines/Pienaar double-act and are doing their best to kick both of them out of the game.
Also have to mention big Vic who was immense when he came on last night. Let's hope his confidence is growing now. He could be like a new signing (according to Elstone — LOL).
851 Posted 03/01/2013 at 14:00:29
852 Posted 03/01/2013 at 13:36:26
Steve Brown. Harsh words and not true. As always, with a paper thin squad assembled for less than the RS spend on golden handshakes, the manager picked a team that should have been able to comfortably beat a struggling Newcastle side. The fact that we were largely outmuscled, conceded more possession and shots than the hapless Geordies was down to certain players not doing their jobs. And most managers who make a tactical switch that results in the new player scoring after 60 seconds would, rightfully be praised. So good on you Davie boy. Nobody is perfect ( great move to rest your best players last night Mr Large Spanish Waiter ).
Vic. Need that commitment for 90 mins lad. Every week.
Leighton. Words fail me. As close to the perfect attacking full back as I have seen. If you feel at all glum, just replay the free kick.
Jag. Despite playing out of position and trying to compensate for the worst defensive display I have seen in many moons - hang your head in shame John Heitinga - kept battling to the end.
Ossie and Peanuts. Looked pretty knackered but gave it everything.
Sylvain. See above. Coped with a bombardment as well as the clown next to him.
Jella. Covered a huge amount of ground and got a well deserved assist.
Naismith. Just not cutting it with poor touch and control. Will need to step up the performance level massively from last nights showing.
Tim. Looks a shadow of the keeper he was and a bag of nerves. Still a good shot stopper.
John Heitinga. That performance capped a run of stinkers and rates as one of the worst centre back shows ever. Not only did he knock into Distin needlessly for the opener, he looked like a rabbit in the headlights all evening. Poor positioning, losing his player, backing off, no commitment. A shocker and needs to be benched, and off-loaded, quickly.
Message to BK. Give the manager the resources he deserves and we can finish top four. And guys, please turn up and win at Anfield to qualify for the CL.
853 Posted 03/01/2013 at 14:08:39
858 Posted 03/01/2013 at 14:14:14
I would hope that those fans who have been critical of Anichebe will give the lad a chance. He is certainly improving with age and maturity and can do a good job playing wide right which also allows him to cut inside as he did last night. David Moyes deserves a lot of credit for that win he never lets them let their heads drop and is always demanding more from each player. I think we might be seeing why Moyes has stuck by Anichebe and new he has the potential to be a very good player in a number of positions.
860 Posted 03/01/2013 at 14:56:53
867 Posted 03/01/2013 at 15:32:44
870 Posted 03/01/2013 at 15:35:57
878 Posted 03/01/2013 at 15:59:35
880 Posted 03/01/2013 at 15:33:38
In light of the appalling refereeing that favoured them at Goodison this season, the irony at hearing the home crowd bemoaning Atkinson was also a joy.
I would also suggest to our resident pessimist that the "Moyes/Round training homilies," (nb: his imagined version of Life at Finch Farm) may possibly have contributed to Everton having the 3rd best league record in 2012; therefore, long may it continue..
886 Posted 03/01/2013 at 16:12:27
Predictable Peter is close to taking the Marsh/Dodd mantle...
887 Posted 03/01/2013 at 16:09:40
Clarence, when Victor first came on the scene he was used as a sub in several European games and scored 4 goals in 9 appearances. Unfortunately by setting the bar so high this led many of us to expect more from him than he was capable of producing.That wasn't his fault. Coupled with his often sulky attitude, which IS his fault, when he spends as much time on his arse with his arms outstretched appealing for free kicks which are never likely to be given, he has, on occasion, opened the door to many of the whiners who contribute to these articles. He has undoubtably got talent and if he could channel his angst and aggression in the right direction he'd be some player. I just hope he does come good, it'd save us a shed load of money and repay the faith that Moyes has shown in him, as well as shut the moaners up.
907 Posted 03/01/2013 at 16:36:28
You, me, Pardew, a darkened alley, and a brief recitation of Everton honours in comparison to the combined paucity of trophies won by every club the biff has managed..!!
918 Posted 03/01/2013 at 16:58:29
928 Posted 03/01/2013 at 17:04:57
There is also the time he throw at strop at not being allowed to leave to go to Hull and knocking back a contract when a hell of a lot of supporters believe he should be happy with any sort of contract. When you add that to never being fit, not scoring for years, being a lazy cunt, constantly moaning on the pitch and spending half the match on his arse I think its not surprising most people have no time for him.
945 Posted 03/01/2013 at 18:13:24
946 Posted 03/01/2013 at 18:16:37
017 Posted 03/01/2013 at 20:40:19
036 Posted 03/01/2013 at 21:17:23
101 Posted 04/01/2013 at 00:12:02
Agree about Moyes needing to rest some of the lads against Swansea too, though judiciously of course.
I'd fancy this team, fitness permitting:
Coleman, Jagielka, Duffy, Baines;
Anichebe, Osman, Hitzelsperger, Oviedo;
Subs: Mucha, Distan, Barkley, Neville, Pienaar, Naismith, Jelavic.
184 Posted 04/01/2013 at 11:55:32
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