An imperious first half from Romelu Lukaku and Everton proved enough to see the Toffees over the line against Newcastle despite a second-half fight-back from the guests at Goodison Park on Monday.
Lukaku scored twice and made another Everton goal in the opening period, but despite leading 3-0 at the interval, the Belgian striker and his teammates found themselves chasing much of the second half as the Magpies scored twice—the second coming with only a minute remaining in normal time.
Lukaku, on loan from Chelsea, took only five minutes to put the ball in the back of the net.
Kevin Mirallas—also a Belgium international—lost Davide Santon down the right as he sprinted into the attacking third and then crossed accurately for Lukaku, who needed only a single touch to beat Tim Krul inside the far post.
After 25 minutes, Everton were two goals to the good—this time Lukaku turning provider for Ross Barkley. The 20-year-old split the Newcastle defence with a delightful through ball to Barkley and the England man made no mistake from the edge of the box.
Lukaku then bagged his second of the night—and eventual winner in the 37th minute—after latching on to Tim Howard’s long free-kick that neither the Newcastle defenders nor Krul could control before the Everton forward’s take-down.
Newcastle manager Alan Pardew made two changes at the break in an effort to stop the bleeding and one of the substitutes—Yohan Cabaye—took only six minutes to leave his mark on the game.
Accepting the ball from Yohan Gouffran, the France international took a few steps toward the 18-yard box before unleashing a cannon of a shot that left Howard with no chance as it found the top, far corner of the net.
Quite visibly spurred on by the strike, the visitors gave as good as they got during the second period and came to within a goal of their hosts when Remy stabbed the ball past Howard following Mathieu Debuchy’s cross from the right.
Key Player Grades
Romelu Lukaku: A+
His second-half performance wasn’t quite as domineering as his showing in the opening period, but with two goals and an assist, the Everton forward both played a part in all three of his side’s goals and single-handedly forced Pardew to make a defensive substitution at the break—replacing the beleaguered Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa with Michael Williamson.
Ross Barkley: A
The 19-year-old was immaculate on Monday, scoring Everton’s second goal and driving his side forward throughout the course of the game. When he was withdrawn to a standing ovation in the final moments, he left the pitch with 67 touches of the ball, a passing success rate of 92 per cent and four shots on goal. (All statistics courtesy WhoScored.com.)
Yohan Cabaye: A
No doubt Pardew will have wished he’d started Cabaye against Everton. But after replacing Haten Ben Arfa at the break, the Frenchman completely changed the look of the match. Newcastle were far more composed in possession with Cabaye pulling the strings and his thunderous strike in the 51st minute gave his side a lifeline they very nearly took advantage of in the end.
Everton will travel to Manchester City on Saturday and they’ll return from the international break with a home match against Hull.
Newcastle, meanwhile, will look to regroup against Cardiff in Wales at the weekend and then welcome Liverpool to St. James’ Park on October 19.
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