Newcastle 0-1 Everton: Wayne Rooney sinks Magpies after Karl Darlow blunder
By Ben Grounds
Last Updated: 14/12/17 12:10am
Everton's resurgence under Sam Allardyce continued as an error from Karl Darlow allowed Wayne Rooney to secure a 1-0 win over 10-man Newcastle at St James' Park.
Darlow spilled Aaron Lennon's header in the 27th minute, with Rooney pouncing on the loose ball to tap home from a yard out.
The Magpies twice struck the woodwork in the first-half as Matt Ritchie and Mikel Merino both hit the post with long-range efforts.
But Rafael Benitez's side ran out of ideas in the second period and Jonjo Shelvey compounded their misery as he received a second yellow card for a foul on Idrissa Gueye deep into second-half stoppage time.
Newcastle: Darlow (5), Manquillo (6), Lejeune (5), Lascelles (6), Yedlin (6), Merino (6), Diame (5), Shelvey (5), Atsu (6), Ritchie (6), Gayle (6).
Subs: Aarons (6), Joselu (6), Perez (n/a)
Everton: Pickford (7), Martina (7), Kenny (7), Holgate (8), Williams (8), Schneiderlin (7), Gueye (8), Rooney (7), Sigurdsson (7), Lennon (6), Calvert-Lewin (7).
Subs: Davies (6), Vlasic (7), Jagielka (n/a)
Man of the match: Ashley Williams
The result means Everton strengthen their hold on 10th place in the Premier League table having extended their unbeaten run to five games in all competitions, but for Newcastle it is a seventh defeat in eight games.
It was the hosts who began the brighter of the two sides and they were very nearly rewarded as Ritchie cut inside from the left before seeing his fierce shot crash back off the woodwork with Jordan Pickford beaten.
But just over a minute later, Everton were ahead as a fine interchange between Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Rooney led to the former crossing for Lennon to head towards goal and after Darlow failed to gather, Rooney was on hand to slide in the rebound.
Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez made four changes. Jamaal Lascelles returned in place of Ciaran Clark while Mohamed Diame replaced Isaac Hayden, Jonjo Shelvey was selected over Jacob Murphy and Joselu dropped out in place of Christian Atsu. Sam Allardyce made two changes to his Everton side as Aaron Lennon and Morgan Schneiderlin came in for Tom Davies and Oumar Niasse.
It means that Rooney has now scored more Premier League goals against Newcastle (15) than against any other team.
Newcastle were inches away from equalising in the 37th minute when Merino was afforded space 30 yards out but the Spaniard's shot cannoned off the inside of the post and went wide.
Having weathered the storm in the first half, Everton were largely untroubled following the interval as Florian Lejeune's header towards the far post narrowly evaded the right boot of Mohamed Diame.
The Toffees could have extended their lead as Ashley Williams rose to meet Gylfi Sigurdsson's free-kick only to be denied by the outstretched Darlow.
And as Newcastle's frustration grew, Shelvey received his marching orders for scything down Gueye in the closing stages.
Rafa Benitez said: "It's a bad result, but the performance of the team (was good). It's difficult to believe that we lost 1-0.
"We had so many chances and we had so much control in the second half. They were happy with the result and they were defending, trying to play counter-attack and waste time.
"We have to manage these situations in another way after losing another game having tried so many different ways to win. We continue to make some mistakes and we've paid for that."
Sam Allardyce said: "I'm pleased for the main, but there's obviously room for improvement. We played on Sunday, they played on Saturday so we didn't have as much recovery time, but with a couple of adjustments here and there we're rolling on.
"It's another goal for Wayne. After a bit of an iffy start, we played our way into the game and played well, using the ball a lot better. I would have to say the goal was a terrific move.
"The defence have done a fantastic job and that has been the bedrock to our upturn in fortunes. We're heading in the right direction, in the top half of the table where we want to finish in May if we can."
- Newcastle have picked up just one point in their last eight Premier League games (W0 D1 L7).
- Everton have collected 10 points in their last four Premier League games - one more than they managed in their previous 12 combined (9).
- Everton ended a run of 16 Premier League away games without a win (D8 L8), claiming their first victory since winning 1-0 at Sam Allardyce's Crystal Palace in January.
- Newcastle United have lost four consecutive home league games at St. James' Park for the first time since April 2015 under John Carver.
- Wayne Rooney has been involved in 23 Premier League goals against Newcastle (15 goals, 8 assists) - more than any player has against an opponent in Premier League history.
- Rooney has nine away Premier League goals at Newcastle - only Alan Shearer (who scored 10 away at Leeds United) has scored more away goals versus a single opponent in Premier League history.
Man of the match - Ashley Williams
Williams stood out with another commanding display to add to his improved performances since Everton's change in management.
His confidence looked brittle during the autumn but in Mason Holgate, the Welshman has found an unlikely partner and the relationship is blossoming following a third clean sheet in four league games.
Whatever Newcastle threw into the box in a desperate attempt to draw level, Williams was on hand to clear and it was very much a joint effort alongside the excellent Holgate which will likely keep Michael Keane out of the side.
Newcastle now face two trips to London before Christmas, starting with the visit to the Emirates Stadium to play Arsenal on Saturday before facing West Ham back in the capital the following week.
Everton host Swansea City on Monday Night Football before entertaining Chelsea on December 23, also live on Sky Sports.