Wayne Rooney proved to be the scourge of Newcastle United once again as his close-range strike earned Everton a 1-0 away win, their first of the 2017/18 season.
Sam Allardyce’s dream start to life as Blues boss continued with the Blues extending their overall run of unbeaten games to five games in all competitions.
It was Rooney’s 10th goal of the campaign on his 100th Club appearance - and also his 15th career goal against the Magpies, meaning he had scored more top-flight goals against the north east outfit than any other.
But Allardyce will have been equally as pleased with another stubborn defensive display as he watched his side record their fourth clean sheet from the past five contests.
The manager made two changes to the team that started the Merseyside derby, with Morgan Schneiderlin and Aaron Lennon, who both made positive impacts as second-half substitutes at Anfield, replacing Oumar Niasse and Tom Davies.
“We put Morgan and Aaron on [at half-time against Liverpool] and got back to the shape we’ve played with in the last three or four games, and hopefully that will be good enough for us to give a good account of ourselves on what will be a difficult night tonight at St James’,” said Allardyce.
“We hope we can use the ball better than we did against Liverpool, we hope we can get out and play more, and the emphasis is on that. Of course, out of possession we need to keep that strong, resilient defensive unit that we had, but we need to express ourselves greater and better when we are in possession than we did on Sunday.”
The first chance of the evening fell to Newcastle inside two minutes.
Rooney’s mis-directed header was intercepted by full-back DeAndre Yedlin, who was promptly brought down by Cuco Martina in a dangerous position on the corner of the penalty area.
However, the resulting free-kick from Matt Ritchie lacked both the pace and precision to test Jordan Pickford, his low drive deflecting off Schneiderlin for a corner.
After weathering an early spell of pressure, the Blues then began to make some attacking in-roads of their own.
A neat interchange between Lennon and Rooney led to a shooting chance for Idrissa Gana Gueye but the midfielder, who was unmarked on the edge of the area, dragged his effort wide of Karl Darlow’s right-hand post.
Back came Newcastle again and another speculative strike from the lively Ritchie forced Pickford into a lunging save to his right.
Then came a remarkable passage of play which saw three chances in the space of 90 frenetic seconds, culminating in the Blues snatching the lead.
First, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who seemingly had the goal at his mercy, was inches away from connecting with Martina’s raking left-wing cross.
Then, Newcastle promptly swept down the opposite end and Jonjo Shelvey set up a shooting chance for Ritchie, who belted a thunderous drive against Pickford’s right-hand post.
A packed St James’ Park was still catching its breath when the Blues then countered in devastating fashion.
After a sweeping move, Calvert-Lewin found himself in space on the right of the box and crossed for Lennon, who powered a downward header goalwards.
Darlow got his hands to it but the ball squirmed out of his grasp and there was Rooney, who gleefully prodded it over the line from barely a yard out in typically predatory fashion.
Both sides continued to trade blows in what was becoming a breathless encounter.
Newcastle’s Spanish midfielder Mikel Merino almost conjured a spectacular equaliser when his 30-yards screamer cannoned back off the inside of the post and flew across the face of goal.
Then Gylfi Sigurdsson missed a golden chance to put the Blues 2-0 up when he headed over from 10 yards out.
There was no let-up in the action after the break, with Newcastle pushing hard for a route back into the game.
Another Merino piledriver was bravely charged down by Mason Holgate, and Florian Lejeune’s follow-up header flashed wide of the far post.
At the other end, Sigurdsson blasted a shot high and wide after a chance opened up 20 yards out.
Ashley Williams also forced a sharp save out of Darlow with a flicked header from a Sigurdsson free-kick as the Blues sought the insurance of a second goal.
Rafael Benitez’s side continued to search for a late equaliser but, bolstered by the introduction of Phil Jagielka from the bench, the Toffees backline remained admirably resolute, while substitute Nikola Vlasic and Calvert-Lewin looked lively on the counter.
The referee’s final whistle sparked jubilant scenes among the travelling Toffees - housed high up in the Leazes Stand - as Allardyce’s troops consolidated their position in 10th in the table, moving level on points with ninth-placed Watford and four points shy of Leicester City in eighth.
Next up is a return to Goodison Park on Monday night for the visit of Swansea City.