Newcastle punish Everton's defensive disarray to leave Blues deep in relegation trouble

27/04/2023 comments  |  Jump to last
Everton 1 - 4 Newcastle

Dwight McNeil's goal off a corner at 3-1 proved to be a mere consolation as Sean Dyche's shambolic defence was humiliated in the final 20 minutes

What was hoped would be a pivotal night in terms of Everton's bid to escape the drop this season turned into a nightmare as Sean Dyche's defence was ripped apart in a demoralising second half at Goodison Park.

The Magpies led at half-time thanks to Callum Wilson's customary goal against the Toffees and the striker would double his tally in the second half as the home side's early fire and brimstone was doused by a heavy dose of cold water.

In between, Joelinton had effectively put the game beyond an Everton side that looked incapable of scoring apart from Dominic Calvert-Lewin's disallowed goal on the stroke of half-time and though Dwight McNeil's fluke from a corner offered a glimmer of hope, it was extinguished almost immediately by Jacob Murphy's simple tap-in after Alexander Isak had humiliated the hosts' defence.

With another raucous coach welcome outside the ground and similar backing from the first whistle from the defiant Goodison faithul, plus the return to the starting XI of Abdoulaye Doucouré and Amadou Onana, hopes were high that Everton could pull off a vital victory that would have lifted them into 16th place.

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And the initial signs were good as the Toffees chased, harried and hassled the Magpies' defence and tried to pepper Nick Pope's goal with shots from the edge of the box and beyond. Alex Iwobi curled an early shot wide from 20 yards, Dwight McNeil saw a couple of speculative efforts from further out safely gathered and Idrissa Gueye also shot straight at the keeper before driving a direct free-kick over the crossbar.

Calvert-Lewin, meanwhile, was played in nicely but eschewed a first-time shot, tried to turn Fabian Schär and ended up being muscled off the ball as he tried to fire it past Pope. 

For their part, Newcastle matched Everton physically and bided their time before starting to dismantle the home defence with targeted balls to their left flank where Ben Godfrey was giving Joelinton the freedom of that area of the pitch.

The makeshift right-back was caught playing far too narrow in the 28th minute, was turned easily by the Brazilian whose strong shot was parried by Jordan Pickford. Unfortunately, it took a crucial deflection off Jmes Tarkowski, fell to Wilson in front of goal and the striker reacted quickly to prod it home from a central position.

A promising chance from a corner went begging as the game moved into first-half stoppage time and Michael Keane did well to get across his man to the hear post but his touch was too heavy. Then, McNeil threaded a beautiful pass for Calvert-Lewin to race away and beat Pope one-on-one but his celebrations were cut short by the linesman's flag and confirmation from VAR Chris Kavanagh that he had been fractionally offside.

Only one goal down, Everton were still in with a chance of getting something from the game in the second half but another warning signing of what was to come came within a minute of the restart when Godfrey was caught out again and only a brilliant saving block by Tarkowski prevented Joe Willock from doubling Newcastle's lead.

Dyche's men were, on the whole, poor on the ball and frequently let themselves down with suspect decision-making, to the point where it was hard to see where an equaliser might come from, particularly as the manager delayed making any changes from the bench until it was far too late.

Their one clear chance fell again to Calvert-Lewin after Iwobi had shrugged off the attentions of Matt Targett but Pope beat the striker's shot away while, at the other end, Sean Longstaff went close when he smashed the ball into the side-netting from an acute angle.

It took a wonderful save at full stretch from Pickford to deny Willock with 20 minutes to go but the floodgates would open just two minutes later when Godfrey allowed the same player to waltz along the byline and clip the ball across the six-yard box for Joelinton to nod home from close range.

2-0 became 3-0 just three minutes later as Godfrey and Michael Keane stood off Wilson outside the box and he sized up an effort that curled into the top corner beyond Pickford's despairing fingers.

Dyche had already replaced Onana with Neal Maupay by this point and when the Frenchman won a corner on the right, McNeil reduced the arrears to two goals when his delivery eluded everyone in the area and swerved inside the far post but any hope of an almost impossible comeback evaporated straight from kick-off.

This time Isak was allowed to tie three Blue shirts into knots as he danced along the byline and his prodded centre was turned in by the unmarked Murphy.

Schär thought he had made further mockery of the shambles in front of him when he drilled home a fifth late on but Dan Burn was adjudged to have been offside in the build-up and the goal was ruled out.

The result leaves Everton in 19th place, two points from safety and needing to pick up a number of points from their three remaining away games if they are to have any hope of staying up.

They travel to Leicester on Monday night really needing to win for a second season running and hope that results elsewhere keep the pathway open to a Houdini act that, frankly, looks beyond them on the basis of tonight's showing at a Goodison Park that was nearly empty by full-time.



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