Wednesday 24 January 2018

Barkley brace stops Everton rot to ease pressure on Martinez

Everton 3 Newcastle 0

Ross Barkley celebrates scoring the second goal for Everton from the penalty spot
Photo: Phil Noble / Reuters
Ross Barkley celebrates scoring the second goal for Everton from the penalty spot Photo: Phil Noble / Reuters
Everton's Ross Barkley celebrates scoring his side's third goal of the game. Photo: Peter Byrne / PA Wire
Everton's Ross Barkley in action with Newcastle United's Jamaal Lascelles Photo: Carl Recine / Reuters

Carl Markham

Everton's first home league win since November eased some of the scrutiny on manager Roberto Martinez in his 100th Premier League game in charge but only increased the pressure on Newcastle counterpart Steve McClaren.

A first-half goal from Aaron Lennon, the first time since August 2009 he has scored in back-to-back games, and two late Ross Barkley penalties secured a 3-0 victory against a disparate visiting side who lacked cohesion.

Martinez has now won 40 times and drawn 31 in his opening century of games at Everton but after a League Cup semi-final exit last week some fans were calling for his head.

A victory and a much-needed home clean sheet, only the second of the season, will have eased that clamour.

McClaren's record is even worse, having taken just five points from eight matches since Newcastle's last victory on the road at Tottenham in mid-December, and after spending £24m on Jonjo Shelvey and Andros Townsend - anonymous here - in the January window he needs to see a return on his investment pretty quickly with his side two points from safety.

The match followed a familiar pattern for Everton - who were without injured defender John Stones, ruled out for 10 days - at Goodison Park this season with the scoreline not really reflecting their domination of possession until the late burst.

Lennon took his goal well but could easily have had another two either side of the break, and several other chances were spurned.

The breakthrough came in the 23rd minute when Lennon was picked out by Tom Cleverley and the winger's shot on the turn beat Rob Elliot.

The Magpies goalkeeper produced a string of saves in the second half, which Everton played without leading goalscorer Romelu Lukaku, who limped off with a back injury sustained in a challenge.

Barkley had two shots, one a free-kick deflected by Shelvey, tipped onto the crossbar by Elliot, who also saved from Lennon from which Kone fired the rebound wide.

Barkley made the result safe with an 88th-minute penalty after substitute Rolando Aarons brought down Lennon, before a cheeky chip from the spot capped an impressive performance after Newcastle sub Jamaal Lascelles was sent off for bringing him down.

Irish Independent

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