A vicious elbow by their centre-forward missed by the referee, a win to end another miserable losing run and more speculation over Alan Pardew’s future; life is certainly never dull at Newcastle United.
There were suggestions that Crystal Palace had made a formal approach for Pardew to take over at Selhurst Park, following the sacking of Neil Warnock. They were not confirmed by either club, but the manager fanned the flames further by failing to engage in his usual post-match media duties.
Quite what that means this victory will represent is uncertain. If it is a swansong, then at least it was a victory. If not – and Pardew has a long-term contract and a fairly stubborn boss in Mike Ashley – then it stopped the latest rot.
There are also likely to be repercussions for Papiss Cissé, the centre-forward who saved Pardew’s position at Newcastle with his goals earlier in the season.
Cissé should, according to the Everton manager, Roberto Martinez – and most who saw the incident, in the 31st minute – have been instantly dismissed when he elbowed Seamus Coleman in the face. “He should not have been on the pitch when he scored,” said Martinez. “It was a big moment. I don’t want to see a player sent off but that was unacceptable and should have been a red card. That should not be allowed on a football pitch.
“There are two players fighting to get in position but when you decide to take the law into your hands by elbowing a fellow pro it is unacceptable. It is a clear action to hurt someone and there is no place for it on a football field.”
Graeme Souness, watching in the Sky studios, said Coleman was lucky not to have had his jaw broken. There was simply no hiding from the replays as Cissé wildly lashed an elbow, at the second attempt, into Coleman’s face, flooring the defender.
The assumption had to be that the referee Craig Pawson missed the clash. It was a huge moment in the game. At that point Everton were leading through Arouna Koné, rounding off a sweeping move through Coleman’s drive down the Everton right, with less than five minutes played. It was his first goal for the club, on his full Premier League debut. Within three minutes of the elbow incident, Newcastle had drawn level. Inevitably, it was Cissé who gave the game parity. Cheick Tioté had crossed to the far post, the ball was pulled back by Mike Williamson and Cissé swept home from eight yards.
From there, Newcastle found enough to win. In that part of the game, Everton had no excuse and were architects of their own downfall . It is one win in seven now and three defeats on the trot.
Newcastle had established a rare two-goal advantage by the 68th minute. Both goals were created by errors from Martinez’s side. In the 51st minute, Aidan McGeady was caught in possession by Tioté, who quickly found Ayoze Perez, on the edge of the Everton penalty area. From 18 yards, he drilled a shot through the legs of Coleman and into the bottom corner of Joel Robles’ goal. The Spaniard was a replacement for Tim Howard and Everton never looked secure in his absence.
In the 68th minute, the mistake was from Ross Barkley, whose first touch failed him on the edge of his own penalty area. Jack Colback quickly pounced and threaded the ball through Robles’ legs.
It was not quite game over. With six minutes remaining, Leighton Baines slotted the ball through to substitute Kevin Mirallas, who lifted the ball over Jak Alnwick and guaranteed a nervy finish for the long-suffering Geordie faithful.Reuse content