Newcastle 07/05/2005 15:00
Everton edged closer to achieving their Champions League dream with a thoroughly deserved 2-0 win over Newcastle at Goodison Park.
A goal in each half from David Weir and Tim Cahill means that The Toffees are odds-on favourites to clinch 4th position in the Premiership table.
Tim Cahill was declared fit to play and Alan Stubbs was included on the bench.
Everton almost took the lead in spectacular fashion in the 8th minute when Mikel Arteta curled a sweetly-struck free-kick from 20 yards that Shay Given did very well to keep out.
However, it proved to be an all-too rare test of Given's capabilities in the opening twenty minutes as both sides laboured to make a real impression on the contest.
The visitors squandered a golden opportunity to take the lead when Darren Ambrose found himself straight through on goal. However, unchallenged, the Newcastle striker miss-controlled the ball and allowed Nigel Martyn to dive at his feet to collect it.
Arteta delivered another splendid dead-ball in the 21st minute and although Tim Cahill did well to stretch and head it goalwards, Given was always behind it.
The match had really warmed up by now and Marcus Bent raced onto a through pass from Duncan Ferguson and aimed a low shot at the far post which Given again saved.
At the other end, James Milner cut inside Steve Watson and fired straight at Martyn and then Jermaine Jenas headed wide from close range when he really ought to have hit the target.
The Geordies seemed to move up a gear as the half moved on and Martyn had to make a great save to beat away an effort from Milner after some excellent approach play.
Everton were clinging on at times so it was somewhat against the run of play when The Toffees took the lead from an unexpected source!
Arteta yet again took a super free-kick from the Everton left and David Weir headed the ball into the net at the far post for his first goal of the season.
Twelve minutes into the second period, Newcastle were reduced to ten-men when Shola Amiobi threw a punch at Tim Cahill right under the nose of the referee Barry Knight, who had absolutely no option other than to wave a straight red card.
Almost straight away, Everton scored a second goal when an Arteta shot found Cahill inside the box and he kept his composure to provide a lovely finish past Given.
Bent fired over the bar shortly after as Goodison took on a carnival-like atmosphere. The fans were lapping it up and every Everton pass was greeted with joyous enthusiasm.
In stoppage time, Kilbane crossed from the left and James Beattie, on for Ferguson, launched himself at the ball only to steer a header narrowly wide.
This was a perfect end to an amazing Goodison season. There are two games to go and 4th place is still not assured but a win in front of the faithful was just what everyone wanted.