Everton Cleverley end Newcastle revival with last-gasp winner
Jamie Clark, Sports Editor | December 26, 2015
Newcastle United 0-1 Everton
- Magpies kicked off in bottom three despite recent revival
- String of fine saves from Elliot preserves point for hosts
- Everton end winless run stretching back to November 21st
Toffees take all three points from Toon trip
Tom Cleverley’s last-gasp header ensured Everton won their first Premier League outing in five attempts, and cruelly denied Boxing Day hosts Newcastle United a point.
Steve McClaren’s Magpies and their visitors from Merseyside, both sporting changes in attack, played out an entertaining affair but ultimately a stalemate by the banks of the Tyne.
Roberto Martinez’s men started positively on a St James’ Park pitch one again hammered by torrential rain, as last time out for the home team when drawing with relegation rivals Aston Villa.
Everton more adventurous in first-half
Toffees full backs Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman showed familiar adventure with forays forward. Such support allowed Kevin Mirallas to come infield the from byline on a rare start nowadays and draw a near-post save from Rob Elliot.
Vurnon Anita then had to get back and clear a goal-bound effort from Romelu Lukaku with Elliot later denying Everton’s in-form Belgian frontman one-on-one when fed by Aaron Lennon. The battle between Lukaku and home team captain Fabricio Coloccini proved key to this contest.
Newcastle showed adventure of their own with the Toffees struggling to deal with right-wing centres, and Aleksandar Mitovic – in for the injured Papiss Cisse – putting himself about up top.
Leading Magpies marksman Georginio Wijnaldum arrived late in the visiting box, but nodded wide from another right-hand side sourced by Moussa Sissoko.
Second-half snatched at death
More channel runs from Lukaku after the break saw him shrug off his marker and force Elliot into another save with an outstretched leg. A plunging palm from the Toon stopper then denied Lennon after Everton striker Lukaku chested a left-wing centre down to him.
For all the Toffees’ endeavour, Mitrovic missed a close-range header with Sissoko providing supply once more. Tim Howard’s fine reactions then prevented Wijnaldum nodding home from a Jack Colback cross at the back post.
Elliot at the other end also produced another reflex stop to thwart Ramiro Funes Mori from heading in a right-wing corner. Coleman then lashed wide on his weaker foot.
Both managers made changes, but no substitute could make a telling contribution to win this game. That was left to Cleverley, who headed into an empty net from just inside the area when Elliot palmed a corner to him deep into stoppage time.
Everton stopped the rot after four Premier League games without victory and are now 3/1 with Coral for a top six finish, while Newcastle United return to the relegation zone.
Our Everton winter window manifesto is well worth a read.
There’s also what Newcastle need in the January sales to consider.
For much more festive football, check out Coral’s dedicated Premier League page.