Newcastle missed a great chance to haul themselves further up the league table this afternoon, when they lost 2-1 to Everton at St. James’ Park, and recorded their 5th home league loss of the season.
Newcastle will look to their poor defending in the first half against a weakened Everton side, and the fact that they even went ahead through Leon Best after 23 minutes, but surrendered the lead with some poor defending in the 13 minutes after taking the lead.
And Newcastle’s home form in the league this season has hardly been good, and Newcastle have only 4 wins at St. James’ Park in their 15 home league games – which is simply not good enough.
In the first 20 minutes or so, it was obvious that the Everton side had come looking for points, and the visitors had the better of the initial play and were playing some good football. And only an excellent save from Steve Harper saved the Magpies from going behind.
After 17 minutes Everton made an enterprising attack and Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta had the ball just outside the penalty area and hit a good shot to Steve Harper’s right, but the Newcastle goalkeeper made a superb save to push the ball over the crossbar for a corner.
That was an escape by Newcastle, who were looking a bit too nonchalant in defense.
On 23 minutes Newcastle went ahead when Nolan found himself out on the left and made a nice turn to send in a low cross which was half stopped by an Everton defender, but Leon Best was where he should be, and the former Coventry striker headed in from a couple yards out for his 6th goal of the seaosn – a good goal from the Newcastle side to take the lead.
That’s now 6 goals in 12 appearances from the striker, and puts him level on goals with Shola Ameobi, and Leon is fast proving he can do a job on Tyneside.
Mikel Arteta was looking god on the left wing for Everton, and maybe that’s why Alan Pardew elected to play both Steven Taylor and Danny Simpson on the right hand side to offset the dangerous Spaniard.
On 31 minutes Everton were level when they seemed to catch Newcastle short at the back, as Arteta made headway quickly on the left before squaring the ball to Leon Osman, who made no mistake from just 12 yards out, but ti wasn’t a good goal for Newcastle to give away.
And would you believe it Everton then took the lead after 36 minutes and it was terrible Newcastle defending – just terrible.
Everton were awarded a free kick out on the left, and left-back Leighton Baines swung in a nice low free kick, and Jakielka, completely unchallenged, stabbed the ball into the back of the net from only four yards out at the far post – a very poor goal for Newcastle to concede.
On 41 minutes Louis Saha found himself straight through on goal in the inside left channel, and only another good block by Steve Harper stopped a third goal for the visitors.
And then it was looking like this would not be Newcastle’s day when after 42 minutes Jose Enrique came off, with what looked like a hamstring injury, and Pardew brought on Shola Ameobi, who came on wearing his new protective mask.
Shane Ferguson had warmed up, but Pardew decided to bring the big striker on, and Simpson went to left-back and Lovenkrands dropped out to the right wing, with Best and Ameobi up front, as the Newcastle manager tried to keep an experienced eleven on the pitch.
Just before half time Gutierrez put in good cross from the left wing, and Williamson got to it at the far post, but could only put it inches wide of the post – that was a good chance missed by Newcastle.
So Newcastle found themselves 2-1 down at the half, after taking the lead at home , with Everton looking the better side, against a rather unusually hesitant Newcastle rearguard.
Early in the second half Shola Ameobi made a good run in the include left channel, and gained a corner which was cleared, as Newcastle trued to press for an early equalizer.
On 55 minutes Louis Saha should have done better as a good cross from the left wing from Arteta was headed over the bar by the Frenchman, who just 10 yards out – it was a good chance for Everton, who again caught Newcastle on a fast break.
Newcastle were attacking continuously and trying to take the initiative, but they were leaving themselves open at the back, and after 61 minutes Jermaine Beckford had a good snap shot well saved by Harper.
Alan Pardew was seen talking at length to Shane Ferguson on the sideline, and after 65 minutes Ferguson replaced Steven Taylor with Danny Simpson reverting to right back, with Shane at left back.
On 74 minutes Newcastle were pressing for the equalizer, and they were again caught short at the back, as Everton broke quickly and Arteta put the ball across the goal and Saha missed a guilt edged chance to put Everton two up, as he just couldn’t reach the ball just four yards out with Harper beaten.
Best again had the ball in the back of the net after 75 minutes with a good header, but it was disallowed because of a push on Everton center-back Jagielka, and Newcastle were pressing and pressing for the equalizer, and putting Everton under extreme pressure.
And time elapsed with Newcastle at least deserving a point out of this game, but they lost a great chance to climb the league and would you believe three teams beneath them in the league this afternoon, West Ham, West Brom and Fulham all won, although Newcastle hold onto 9th place.
But the Magpies drop a further point behind Sunderland who drew at Arsenal, and a further 3 points behind Bolton who won a 3-2 thriller against Aston Villa, with two goals in the last 15 minutes – that’s what Newcastle needed to do today.
Unfortunately, our next game is not until weeks time away at Stoke, who were surprisingly beaten 3-0 by West Ham at Upton Park today, as the bottom sides keep winning.
It was not a good performance from Newcastle this afternoon, and they are now 6 points above the drop zone – but we suppose the good news is we should have Joey Barton and Stephen Ireland fit for the Stoke game – we’ll need them.
The bottom line is that Everton got their noses in front and hung on with a good defensive display – something that Newcastle had a chance to do in the first half, but gave away two poor goals and all 3 points – and at home too.
Not good. 🙁
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Steve Harper; Steven Taylor, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Jose Enrique; Danny Simpson, Kevin Nolan (c), Cheik Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez; Leon Best, Peter Lovenkrands
Subs: Tim Krul, James Perch, Michael Richardson, Danny Guthrie, Shane Ferguson, Shefki Kuqi, Shola Ameobi
Everton (4-4-2): Tim Howard; Tony Hibbert, Phil Jagielka, Sylvain Distin, Leighton Baines; Phil Neville (c), Jack Rodwell, Mikel Arteta, Leon Osman; Jermaine Beckford, Louis Saha
Subs: Jan Mucha, John Heitinga, Seamus Coleman, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Shane Duffy, Jose Baxter, Victor Anichebe