Rafa Benitez’s 100th game as Newcastle boss ended in misery as Everton’s Theo Walcott scored the only goal of the game to defeat the Magpies 1-0 at Goodison Park on Monday.
Walcott’s goal came early in the second-half after Yannick Bolasie crossed in a high ball to the back-post for the Englishman to control and then slam into the net.
Everton’s first chance came 34 minutes in; Wayne Rooney whipped in a high cross which was then headed across goal by Michael Keane, but Phil Jagielka could only slide in and put the ball wide.
Moments later Kenedy chased down Jordan Pickford and deflected the ball into the path of Ayoze Perez, but the Spaniard failed to capitalise as his ball to Slimani was over-hit and found its way back to the Everton goalkeeper.
Half-Time: Everton 0-0 Newcastle United
Four minutes into the second period Kenedy lifted the ball over-the-top of Everton’s defence for Ayoze Perez to latch onto, but the Spaniard sent his shot wide of goal after Keane put him under pressure.
Everton had the ball in the net one minute later; Bolasie crossed in a high ball which was miscontrolled by Theo Walcott, but the winger got a second bite of the cherry and fired the ball into the roof of Martin Dubravka’s goal.
Within a minute of Dwight Gayle replacing Islam Slimani, Jamaal Lascelles flicked on a corner to the number nine inside the six-yard box, but the substitute blazed the ball over the bar.
Moments later Kenedy danced down the left-flank and crossed the ball in towards the near-post, but Perez could only direct a header straight into the hands of Pickford.
Four minutes later Matt Ritchie bent a free-kick just wide of the top-right corner, after Keane hacked down Gayle before he could venture into the penalty area.
Newcastle desperately launched the ball into Everton’s box in the dying exchanges and were unfortunate to see Seamus Coleman make a miraculous headed clearance to deny Gayle a tap-in.
The result means that Everton move four points ahead of the Magpies and into 8th place, but Newcastle still have a game in hand on the Toffees and sit in 10th place.
Here’s how the Newcastle players rated:
Martin Dubravka - 6
No chance for the goal. In honest truth, the Slovakian had very little else to do.
Paul Dummett - 7
Strong in a tackle and great positioning, the Everton wingers found it difficult to get past him.
Florian Lejeune - 7
The Lejeune-Lascelles partnership continues to be difficult for opposition players to break down. Another solid performance from the Frenchman and only the one goal conceded.
Jamaal Lascelles - 7
Unfortunate with the goal to be caught out by a lucky rebound in Walcott’s favour, but Newcastle’s skipper was good on the ball and solid in defence again.
De'Andre Yedlin - 6
Unfortunate to see Walcott’s bad touch bounce back off him and set up Everton’s goal. Yedlin defended well and effectively used his pace to track runners and intercept danger.
Kenedy - 7
Some dazzling runs and was arguably Newcastle’s most creative outlet. His delivery was of a decent standard too.
Jonjo Shelvey - 6
Not as instrumental as he usually is and failed to create any real goal-scoring opportunities.
Mohammed Diame - 7
A hardworking performance from the Senegalese yet again and he did well to break up play on numerous occasions, and to play the ball out of danger.
Matt Ritchie - 6
A fairly ineffective performance from Ritchie seen him only cause one threatening moment to Everton’s defence when he sent a free-kick narrowly wide of Jordan Pickford’s goal.
Ayoze Perez - 6
Unlike recent weeks, nothing really came off for Perez in this game. His passes didn’t never quite reached their target, nor his efforts test Pickford enough. The potential was there, but Perez will be frustrated after that one.
Islam Slimani - 6
Nothing much to offer from the Algerian. He looked through to score after Pickford’s poor clearance, but Perez’s ball failed to find him.
Sub: Dwight Gayle - 6
A few opportunities for Gayle, especially in the six-yard area, but he couldn’t steer any of his efforts on target.