Nicky Butt – scores 3rd goal for Newcastle to give Newcastle 1-0 lead
Newcastle: Shay Given, Habib Beye, Jose Enrique, Abdoulaye Faye, Cacapa, James Milner, Nicky Butt, Geremi, Charles N’Zogbia, Alan Smith, Oba Martins
Subs: Steve Harper, Steven Taylor, David Rozehnal, Emre, Michael Owen
Everton: Tim Howard, Phil Neville, Tony Hibbert, Leighton Baines, Joseph Yobo, Joleon Lescott, Mikel Arteta, James McFadden, Stephen Pienaar, Lee Carsley, Victor Anichebe
Subs: Andy Johnson, Phil Jagielka, Leon Osman, Yakubu, Stefan Wessels
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Newcastle reached half time ahead 1-0 through a good goal from Nicky Butt after 42 minutes. Newcastle have been the better team but need to push home their advantage with more goals. A quick goal in the second half is what’s needed. Martins missed a golden opportunity after just 3 minutes and Newcastle have missed 2 or 3 more reasonable chances. Everton havent really played well and look jaded, probably due to their midweek activities. They should get more tired in the second half so we expect Sam to ask the team to lift the pace immediately into the second half to try to kill the game.
3 mins – Smith puts Martins through in the inside left position and he runs through for 15 yards but then blasts wide â€“ a good chance and Oba needs to have more composure when these chances present themselves. That was a a golden opportunity for Oba that he misses.
Enrique sees a lot of the ball in the first few minutes and looks composed and confident.
11 mins – A cross comes over and thereâ€™s some confusion between Given and the central defenders. Given should have come for the cross but didnâ€™t and in the confusion Faye cleared off the line. Then Cacapa hacks it into Given and the ball nearly ends it up in the net.
The pitch is very slip and the players are sliding allover â€“ do they have the right studs on?
14 mins – Nâ€™Zogbia goes through in the inside left channel and shoots and forces a great save from Everton goalkeeper Howard who saves one handed to his left and concedes a corner.
Nâ€™Zogbia looks very menacing on the left ass he takes on Everton players at will.
Newcastle are playing fast-flowing football after 17 mins.
Faye is looking calm and strong as a big physical presence in central defense. Faye is controlling the back four with good communication and has started well.
21 mins – Martins has a chance from 18 yards out but Oba wastes the chance and shoots wide. The balance of the Newcastle play is much more balanced and Alan Smith up front has started very well. Seems like Alan is right that striker is his best position.
23 mins – Butt makes a poor late tackle on Pienaar and gets a yellow card for too many fouls so early in the game.
32 mins â€“ Enrique feeds Milner who makes a good run and gets past Hibbert to the byeline and forces a corner which is cleared by Everton. Smith has a head wound which seems to keep bothering him and play is held up.
38 mins â€“ Smith has a half chance but the ball is put wide for a corner by the Everton defense. The game is even but Newcastle are trying to raise their game.
Then after 42 minutes Newcastleâ€™s pressure pays off when Butt fires home a beautiful goal as he bends the ball into the top right hand corner past Howard. Itâ€™s been all Newcastle in the last 10 minutes and Everton look jaded.
The half time whistle comes after 3 minutes of injury time with Newcastle well on top if not in the goals total.