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v Swansea City

Tuesday 23 September K.O. 19:45



Goodison Park | 17th September 2012 20:00

Everton v Newcastle United

Everton endured a night of frustration at Goodison Park as twice they saw Newcastle come from behind to steal a point.

That Demba Ba's second equaliser came in the final minute of normal time was the least of it - by then David Moyes' men should have been out of sight.

After Steven Pienaar had conjured up some magic to allow Leighton Baines to steer the hosts into a deserved 15th-minute lead, the Blues had looked destined to go on and bag their second Monday night victory of the campaign. They should have.

Losing Nikica Jelavic on the stroke of half time to injury was a blow, one compounded when Ba, on as a substitute for the Magpies, levelled just three minutes after the break.

But still the Blues did enough to wrap it up. In fact, twice they had the ball in the back of the net and twice - wrongly - their celebrations were cut short.

Indeed, by the time Victor Anichebe's neat turn and finish sent premature relief swirling around the stadium with three minutes to go, the Nigerian had already had an effort he clearly bundled a good few inches over the line chalked off.

That after Marouane Fellaini - fractionally but certainly onside - had seen another 'goal' blunderingly met with a linesman's flag.

And yet one last hammer blow was still to be dealt, Ba stabbing his second of the contest under Tim Howard and beyond the reach of Sylvain Distin to provide a somewhat predictable climax as the final whistle loomed.

The mascots and players remember the 96.Everton's players, supporters and mascots remember the 96 victims of the Hillsborough disaster before kick off.

Ahead of kick off, Goodison Park paid its respects to the victims of Hillsborough following a week in which their families finally discovered the truth about the 1989 disaster and the subsequent plot to wrongly deflect blame on to supporters.

Under a banner which read: 'Justice For The 96, Merseyside United', the names of the victims scrolled across the stadium's screens, while the 33,000-strong crowd stood to applaud against the backdrop of The Hollies' 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother'. Merseyside solidarity at its strongest.

Once the action got underway, Everton were quickly into their stride and the first act of Kevin Mirallas' splendid first-half showing was to burst down the right and send in a teasing cross for Fellaini.

His compatriot's first-time shot was touched only as far as Jelavic by goalkeeper Steve Harper, in for the injured Tim Krul, and though the Croatian converted, he was - rightly on this occasion - denied by the linesman. Critically, the striker took a blow to the knee in the process - a knock which would ultimately lead to his early departure three minutes before the break. 

That serving as an early sign of Everton's intent, it was little surprise when they did make a breakthrough with just 15 minutes on the clock. On the final day of last season, Steven Pienaar netted to trigger the Blues' 3-1 win over Newcastle before bidding a tearful farewell to the Goodison crowd as his loan spell from Tottenham came to an end. His role in the opener here demonstrated why Moyes worked so tirelessly to bring him back on a permanent basis.

Picking up the ball on the left wing, Baines surged forward and played it on for the advancing South African. The midfielder's back heel was exquisite and perfectly paced, allowing Baines to stride forward and fire clinically past the deputising Harper.

Leighton Baines celebrates his first-half strike.Leighton Baines celebrates his first-half opener.

With the lead in place, Mirallas, making his first Premier League start, took his cue to enjoy himself and quickly set about unsettling Newcastle's rearguard further.

First, he span brilliantly away from two markers before unleashing a thunderbolt of a shot which wisped past Harper's upright.

Then, for his next trick, he wriggled away from Steven Taylor and fired in a skidding effort the stand-in custodian could only gather at the second attempt.

Newcastle's response was to muster the first of just two attempts on goal in the half, but after benefitting from Phil Neville's wayward header, Papiss Cisse could only skew his shot wide of the target.

Everton's dominance was soon restored and exemplified by Phil Jagielka meeting a cushioned Jelavic lay-off and skimming the outside of Harper's post with a meaty half-volley from the edge of the box.

If a bout of midfield juggling from Fellaini then brought warm applause, his endeavour to retrieve the ball after losing it prompted a veritable roar of appreciation.

But entertaining as Everton were, they weren't beyond mistakes. A warning of just how fragile a one-goal lead can be came 10 minutes before the break as messy defending gifted Hatem Ben Arfa the chance to drive the ball across the face of goal. When it struck him, midfielder Vurnon Anita knew little about it, but Baines, positioned perfectly, had to be alert to hack the danger off the line.

More Mirallas magic then left Taylor statuesque once again, though Harper this time gathered the Belgian's low shot with minimal fuss.

The 24-year-old had been the go-to man for the mostpart with Jelavic struggling to shake off that early knock. It was little surprise then when he collapsed in a heap on 43 minutes and signalled to the dugout that his night was up. Off the bench, Anichebe got the nod.

Victor Anichebe roars in celebration after scoring what must have felt like a late winner - only for Newcastle to level again moments later.Victor Anichebe roars in celebration after scoring what he thought was a late winner.

For differing reasons, Alan Pardew - restricted to a seat in the stands after being punished for shoving a linesman in Newcastle's opening-day win over Tottenham - also felt the need for a change.

He made it at the break, sending on Ba for the ineffectual Sylvain Marveaux.

It proved shrewd. Less than three minutes after the restart, Yohan Cabaye stole the ball from Leon Osman in the middle of the park and pushed it perfectly into the path of the Sengalese striker. The sub then bided his time, allowing the ball to cross his body before arrowing a first-time effort low past Howard and in.

It was only the second goal Everton had conceded at Goodison since March.

What followed cost them what would - and should - have been a deserved seventh straight home win.



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