Newcastle United 3-2 Everton
A day and a comeback to remember on Tyneside as Newcastle United ultimately ran out victorious on an action packed afternoon at St James Park.
A brace from Ayoze Perez and a classy opener from Rondon giving the Magpies a 3-2 win after trailing the Toffee Men 2-0 at the interval only begins to tell the story of this one on a day of missed penalties, offside goals and comedy antics from ex-Mackem goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
What a comeback. What a day.
STARTING XI: Dubravka, Yedlin, Schar, Lascelles (Dummett, 45), Lejeune, Ritchie (Kenedy, 73), Hayden, Ki (Shelvey, 79), Perez, Almirón, Rondon
Everton had come out of the blocks quickly in front of an initially subdued St James Park sell out. And it didn’t take long for the visitors to make their early pressure count when a hurried clearance from Ritchie was recycled down the Newcastle right allowing Lucas Digne to place a delicious cross onto the forehead of Dominic Clavert-Lewin who did well to glance the ball past the sprawling Dubravka.
The lead was no more than Everton deserved and it would take a couple of crazy minutes on the half hour mark to stir the Magpies and the thousands clad in black and white into a frenzy and lift themselves.
Firstly Everton should have been down to 10 men on 29 minutes. Pantomime… no… scrub that… actual villain Jordan Pickford dropped a cross from the Newcastle left into the path on the onrushing Rondon. And with the Newcastle striker well placed to tap home, the ex-Mackem stopper took matters into his own hands and quite literally rugby tackled Rondon to the ground.
The clear penalty was of course awarded by Lee Mason. Inexplicably however, there was no card. Now given the incident was right in front of the referees assistant and with Mason well placed to see that the ball was several meters from Pickford when he fouled the Newcastle man it had to be a straight red. A crazy, crazy decision that provoked anger from the Newcastle fans, players and coaching staff alike.
To make matters worse Pickford then saved the Matt Ritchie penalty.
And, wouldn’t you just know it, two minutes later it was 2-0 to Everton. This time a cross from the Everton right was palmed straight into the path of the talented Richarlison who made no mistake from 6 yards out to side foot home the easiest of chances.
The sense of injustice was palpable, and it would carry through to the second half.