Theo Walcott’s fizzing 51st-minute drive propelled Everton to a richly-merited victory over Newcastle United which sees the Blues jump to eighth in the Premier League table.
Winger Walcott had lashed marginally over moments before half-time but made no mistake after cleverly working an opening in the box to smash high into Martin Dubravka’s net.
Everton were unchanged from the team which started at Swansea City nine days earlier, albeit with Dominic Calvert-Lewin - fit again after a minor hip problem - taking the place of Nikola Vlasic among the substitutes.
The Toffees began purposefully and had Cenk Tosun not sliced narrowly wide on the volley following a 40-yard dribble from Walcott, then the hosts would have had the ideal start with just four minutes played.
Although the opening 20 minutes passed without much in the way of penalty-box opportunities, both teams were energetic in their play. Walcott, operating on the right, led the charge for the Blues, while Michael Keane and Phil Jagielka were alert to the ball from deep by Magpies’ playmaker Jonjo Shelvey, continually looking to pick out Newcastle’s busy front pairing of Islam Slimani and Ayoze Perez.
Yannick Bolasie was denied a second-ever Goodison Park goal by Shelvey’s block, when the winger fired a shot from a similar position to the one from which he struck against Manchester City last month.
Newcastle, on the back of four successive victories, functioned in a disciplined, well-organised manner. It took until 25 minutes for the visitors to create any sort of opening, however, a long-distance shot from Spanish attacker Perez flying harmlessly over the bar and into the Lower Gwladys.
The clearest first-half chance fell the way of Jagielka 10 minutes before the break. The Blues captain, from a recycled corner, could only prod over from inside the six-yard box having stretched to meet a header back across goal from centre-back cohort Keane.
Everton’s domination of the ball was reflected in the half-time statistic which showed the Blues had hogged 69 per cent of possession. And that superiority was nearly rewarded when Walcott sent an angled drive whizzing fractionally over with the last kick of the first period.
The home team were given a scare shortly after the restart when Perez latched onto a Kenedy through pass, only for the forward to stab wide under pressure from Keane. Credit to the Everton defender who picked his moment perfectly to knock his opponents out of his stride.
It was a crucial moment as in the Toffees’ next attack, Walcott blasted his side into the lead - his third goal since switching from Arsenal in January.
Walcott’s excellent cushioned touch on Bolasie’s deep ball from the right enabled the winger to move inside and fire into the roof of the net from 10 yards out.
His strike meant that the England international continued his fine record against Newcastle, which now reads five goals and five assists in his nine games against the North East club.
In the lead-up to the goal, Morgan Schneiderlin, who had been outstanding until that point, injured himself in a tangle with Matt Ritchie. Unable to continue, he left to a standing ovation when replaced by Tom Davies in central midfield.
Wayne Rooney then curled an effort narrowly wide as the Blues went in search of a second - but the game was almost back level when substitute Dwight Gayle - with what could have possibly been his first touch - scooped a half-volley over the bar from close range just past the hour mark.
Newcastle tried to rally but were consistently met by a stubborn Blues rearguard. Keane defended exceptionally all evening, heading and kicking away every dangerous ball played into Everton territory, but he was guilty of tripping Gayle on the edge of the box a quarter of an hour from time. From the resultant free-kick, Ritchie wrapped his left foot around the ball and bent a shot inches over the target.
Everton largely kept their industrious opponents at bay as Newcastle made a series of attacking changes and poured forward in their hunt for an equaliser.
It wasn’t until deep into stoppage time, when Seamus Coleman headed away Kenedy’s venomous inswinging cross that the visitors truly threatened to pinch a draw, however. And Everton will travel to Huddersfield Town on Saturday protecting a three-match unbeaten run and with a one-point advantage on Leicester in eighth.