Newcastle Utd v Everton
Everton travelled to St James' Park knowing neither the form book nor the history books provided a good omen as they sought their third away win of the campaign.
And thus it proved - with David Moyes' men never really recovering from falling two goals behind inside half an hour as Johnny Heitinga put through his own net before Ryan Taylor’s stunning volley left Tim Howard helpless.
Newcastle had surprised everyone by making an unbeaten start to the season whilst the Blues had lost four of their previous five outings prior to this contest.
Nevertheless, the Magpies were thankful when the final whistle came - such was the second half onslaught from the Toffees.
That push for an equaliser had been buoyed by Jack Rodwell’s header on the stroke of half time. Every member of the travelling faithful hoped that would provide a foothold for a fightback. Frustratingly, Newcastle saw the game out and showed a great deal of defensive resolve which helps explain their impressive start to the season.
Everton had added style and steel to their starting 11 with Royston Drenthe and Phil Neville returning in place of Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and the suspended Marouane Fellaini.
It was clear the opening goal would be crucial, with Newcastle's early season success based on scoring the opener and relying on the league's most watertight defence to absorb any onslaught that followed.
The Blues set out keen not to allow their hosts to grab an advantage - and a compact midfield trio of Neville, Leon Osman and Rodwell quelled the early threat of Alan Pardew's 'quarterback' Yohan Cabaye.
But in the 11th minute disaster struck for Everton when an own goal gave Newcastle the lead.
Danny Simpson produced an inviting low cross and as Howard moved to claim it Heitinga's flailing leg diverted the ball past him.
Newcastle's typically boisterous home crowd roared their team on but it was Everton that created three decent opportunities to equalise midway through the first half. Opportunities they would quickly regret squandering.
Both Rodwell and Osman failed to trouble Tim Krul with efforts that went too close to the goalkeeper before Louis Saha missed the best chance of the lot.
Phil Jagielka's long ball allowed the Frenchman to beat the offside trap, but through on goal he hammered his shot into the Gallowgate End.
After 28 minutes Newcastle doubled their lead in superb fashion. Ryan Taylor goals tend to be of the highest class and this was no exception.
Everton only half cleared a long throw into the penalty area and Taylor lashed the ball home from 25 yards out.
Both teams then lost integral parts of their midfield with Neville and Cabaye forced off with injury. Distin came on for the visitors and former Blue Dan Gosling was introduced by Alan Pardew.
On the stroke of half time Everton had one final chance to reduce the deficit and the men in amber struck gold from a set piece.
Drenthe's delivery from the right was met by Rodwell, who headed home his second goal in as many away games.
At the start of the second half Everton had a legitimate shout for a penalty turned down by referee Andre Marriner. Saha's low drive appeared to strike the arm of Gosling but the striker's pleas were rejected.
But for too long after that Everton were wasteful in possession and time ebbed away without any real opportunities being created.
Countless forays forward into the final third were prematurely ended by a misplaced pass or a misunderstanding.
The Blues introduced Tim Cahill and James McFadden to try and change the game but neither player could produce the moment of class the visitors so desperately craved.
Pot shots from around the penalty area were as close as Everton and came as their mid-Autumn struggles continued.