Thursday 13 December 2018

Redemption for Pickford but Toffees can't shake off hangover

Everton 1 Newcastle 1

Everton's Yerry Mina (left) and Dominic Calvert-Lewin (second right) battle for the ball with Newcastle United's Jamaal Lascelles (second left) and Fabian Schar (right). Photo credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire
Everton's Yerry Mina (left) and Dominic Calvert-Lewin (second right) battle for the ball with Newcastle United's Jamaal Lascelles (second left) and Fabian Schar (right). Photo credit: Peter Byrne/PA Wire

Richard Jolly

If late drama and Jordan Pickford have gone hand-in-hand this week, at least he could savour it this time.

After the Everton goalkeeper had condemned his side to defeat in the Merseyside derby, this time he preserved a point. A fine save from Christian Atsu amounting to at least a minor moment of redemption.

Newcastle United's Joselu in action with Everton's Kurt Zouma. Photo; Reuters/Andrew Yates
Newcastle United's Joselu in action with Everton's Kurt Zouma. Photo; Reuters/Andrew Yates

Once again, Everton could rue the antics of an opposing goalkeeper as a brilliant Martin Dubravka save secured the sort of hard-earned draw that makes it increasingly less likely that Newcastle will get dragged into the relegation battle.

Perhaps Everton should be flattered that Rafa Benitez chose to adopt a damage-limitation exercise, picking a back five, a tactic he had only previously used against Manchester City and Chelsea this season. Yet if Newcastle's manager seemed to go on the defensive, his players prospered nonetheless.

Benitez was without his first-choice wingers, the injured Kenedy and the suspended Matt Ritchie, but that gave Jacob Murphy an opportunity he was quick to take it, embarking on a 40-yard solo run before bending a cross Salomon Rondon met at the far post to emphatically for Newcastle's first goal at Goodison Park since 2013.

But if Everton were initially taken aback by conceding, they responded. Federico Fernandez made a goal-saving block to keep out Gylfi Sigurdsson's shot and Dubravka showed his athleticism to tip Richarlison's shot wide.

Everton's Bernard in action with Newcastle United's Fabian Schar. Photo: Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Everton's Bernard in action with Newcastle United's Fabian Schar. Photo: Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

Yet it only delayed the equaliser by a matter of seconds. Sigurdsson took the resulting corner, it deflected off Jamaal Lascelles and Richarlison scooped his shot home.

Everton had the momentum then but lost it during a subdued start to the second half. Newcastle built on solid foundations and Atsu, who made a negligible impact during his loan spell at Everton, was altogether brighter on his return, testing Pickford with a shot on the turn before wasting the opportunity to clinch a second straight away win for Newcastle.

Everton's Ademola Lookman in action with Newcastle United's Javier Manquillo. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Yates
Everton's Ademola Lookman in action with Newcastle United's Javier Manquillo. Photo: Reuters/Andrew Yates
Newcastle United's Salomon Rondon in action with Everton's Andre Gomes. Photo: Reuters/Jason Cairnduff
Newcastle United's Salomon Rondon in action with Everton's Andre Gomes. Photo: Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

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