Newcastle 0-1 Everton: Tom Cleverley strikes injury-time winner for Toffees
Last Updated: 26/12/15 8:06pm
Tom Cleverley scored an injury-time winner for Everton after it looked like Newcastle would hang on for a well-earned draw at St James' Park.
The game had looked to be heading for stalemate after stellar performances from Rob Elliot and his opposite number Tim Howard in the Everton goal.
But Elliot could only punch a last-gasp Leighton Baines corner into the path of Cleverley, who sent a looping header over the home defence and into the net with 93 minutes on the clock to spark wild celebrations on the Everton bench.
The Toffees, who dominated the first half, move into ninth place, one point behind city rivals Liverpool, while Newcastle remain in the relegation zone in 18th.
Elliot was making his ninth straight start after Tim Krul was ruled out for the season and the Newcastle 'keeper was called into action when Kevin Mirallas brought down a Seamus Coleman cross and hit a fierce drive that was kept out by the keeper's left foot.
Daryl Janmaat then swept in a beautiful cross onto the six-yard line but Aleksandar Mitrovic failed to get a full head on the ball.
Everton felt they should have had a penalty when Romelu Lukaku was seemingly pulled back by Fabricio Coloccini. Coleman had bent a pass into the path of the Belgian, who appeared to be wrestled to the ground by the Newcastle captain before Elliot calmly collected the forward pass.
Elliot was then brought into action when Lukaku shot straight at him after Lennon split the Newcastle defence.
Janmaat could have been giving his marching orders after upending Ross Barkley as the England midfielder burst towards the Toon goal but a free-kick was deemed enough by referee Lee Mason when a second yellow seemed inevitable.
Newcastle were much improved after the break after should have broken the deadlock through Mitrovic. The Serbian flew into the penalty area to meet Moussa Sissoko's hanging cross but his thunderous header went wide and with it the Magpies' best chance of the game.
Elliot was again brought into action by Lukaku when the Belgian - who was looking to become the first Everton player since Dixie Dean in 1924 to score in nine consecutive matches - turned Chancel Mbemba all too easily only to fire his low left-footed shot at the sprawling feet of Elliot.
Aaron Lennon then stung the 'keeper's palms with a powerful shot that skimmed the soggy Tyneside surface.
Roberto Martinez threw on Muhamed Besic and Gerard Deulofeu in place of Barkley and Lennon for the final 20 minutes but it was Newcastle who almost made a breakthrough.
Gini Wijnaldum was found at the back post by Jack Colback but Newcastle's top scorer could not manage to direct his header past Howard.
Elliot then emulated Howard with a save from Ramiro Funes Mori after the defender got on the end of a Baines corner but the 'keeper's performance counted for nothing after he failed to deal with a Baines corner, Cleverley striking a cruel late blow.
Newcastle: Elliot (8), Janmaat (5), Mbemba (6), Coloccini (7), Dummett (6), Anita (7), Colback (7), Sissoko (6), Wijnaldum (7), Perez (6) Mitrovic (6).
Subs used: Thauvin (3).
Everton: Howard (7), Baines (6), Funes Mori (6), Stones (7), Coleman (7), Barry (6), Cleverley (7), Mirallas (7), Barkley (5), Lennon (6), Lukaku (7).
Subs used: Besic (2), Deulofeu (2), Osman (3).
Man of the match: Rob Elliot