Everton suffered late heartbreak as Newcastle United scored twice in stoppage time to smuggle a point out of Goodison Park after Moise Kean’s first Everton goal and Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s 10th Premier League strike of the season put the hosts firmly in command.
Calvert-Lewin’s strike nine minutes after half-time added to Kean’s goal on the half hour. But substitute Florian Lejeune hooked in four minutes into added time and 60 seconds later forced the ball home amid an almighty scramble to rescue a draw for his side.
We are running dry on superlatives for Calvert-Lewin, the Everton striker who scored his 10th Premier League goal of the season – from only 17 starts, to boot – to stretch his side’s advantage over Newcastle United.
Calvert-Lewin, to quote Carlo Ancelotti, is developing into a fantastic player.
On this night, however, Everton's striking plaudits went to Kean.
He’s imagined his first Goodison Park goal over and over, no doubt.
It arrived after 30 minutes of a match Everton dominated without completely putting away their disciplined and game opponents.
Kean fastened onto a lovely lobbed ball from Bernard and rifled an effort through goalkeeper Martin Dubravka at the Gwladys Street End.
Cue pandemonium inside Goodison and a release of emotion from Kean following his first Premier League goal. He was so happy.
Likewise Calvert-Lewin after Lucas Digne sliced open Newcastle’s defence for the striker to plant a left-footed strike across Dubravka nine minutes after half-time.
Twice in two minutes shortly before the halfway point of the opening 45 minutes Newcastle keeper Dubravka was responsible for keeping his side on level terms.
Kean tested the Slovak with a skidding drive which Dubravka made a bit of a meal of pushing out to his right.
The Newcastle keeper’s handling was much surer two minutes earlier.
Everton were feeding cross after cross into their opponents’ box – 11 from open play by the interval.
This one was served up by Fabian Delph and cleared by Ciaran Clark. But only as far as Djibril Sidibe whose scorching return was held by Dubravka tumbling low to his right.
Sidibe’s day job ostensibly is to defend and he was doing it rather well. On nine minutes the French right-back made a crucial intervention to prevent Matty Longstaff, running from midfield, fastening onto a cute pass from Miguel Almiron.
Sidibe broke Ritchie’s heart with a fabulous piece of back-post work to deny the Newcastle player a clear header at goal following a whipped Almiron delivery from the left.
Newcastle came here without any of their first-choice full-backs – all wiped out by injury – and employed Ritchie and Isaac Hayden, both midfielders by trade, as wing-backs.
Hayden was unsure early on. Bernard picked the Londoner’s pocket before darting forwards and sending in a ball headed out by Jamaal Lascelles.
An attempted crossfield pass from Delph proved too hot for the auxiliary defender to handle, too, Hayden juggling it into touch.
Hayden was in more comfortable territory when bustling forward to cross for Joelinton three minutes before half time.
The South American’s effort didn’t call on Jordan Pickford to dirty his gloves and that was the story of the entire opening half for Everton’s goalkeeper on his 100th successive Premier League appearance.
It was Everton making most of the running. Sidibe’s first piece of smart defending was followed immediately by the home team breaking and Theo Walcott feeding in a ball which somehow eluded both Kean and Calvert-Lewin.
Ritchie’s deflection on a Bernard delivery hurried the ball out of reach of Yerry Mina in front of goal and, two minutes after Kean brought the house down, Calvert-Lewin was narrowly wide with a left footer from 20 yards.
Dubravka flung out a paw to intercept when Bernard’s centre was set for Calvert-Lewin shortly after half-time.
Credit to Dubravka for his part in thwarting Bernard following Everton’s next raid. Walcott’s weighted pass freed Bernard but before he could get his shot away the Everton forward had Dubravka flying at his feet.
Bernard hoisted the ball over his opponent but not back down quick enough to find the net.
No matter. Calvert-Lewin made capital on Digne’s wonderful pass to double Everton’s advantage.
Dubravka’s outstretched right hand turned round Bernard’s dipping blast on 73 minutes and Mina was wide with a header after Walcott stood up a ball to the far post.
The overworked keeper dived to his left to save a Calvert-Lewin effort after the forward strode onto a return pass from Sidibe and swiped goalwards from 18 yards.
Everton were swarming all over beaten Newcastle now. Digne’s lashed cross into a penalty-box crowd was deflected behind and Dubravka clung to an arrowed drive from the immaculate Mason Holgate.
The Blues looked to be cruising to victory until Lejeune acorbatically converted from inside the penalty box to give Newcastle hope.
And the Frenchman, on for Clark after 70 minutes, forced the ball past Pickford to snatch a draw for his side after Ritchie flung a free-kick into the area to spark a fatal scrum in Everton's six-yard box.
Goodison Park roared its appreciation. The stadium announcer had just boomed out the identity of Everton’s first goalscorer.
And the noise which greeted the name of Moise Kean rivalled that which erupted when the Italian’s shot squeezed beyond the previously faultless Martin Dubravka and into the net.
All good things come in threes and when Kean made way for Seamus Coleman on 71 minutes the player was granted an ear-splitting reception.
There has been an enormous amount of goodwill towards Kean. He is 19, in a foreign country and playing football which is alien to anything he’s known.
Moreover, Kean has been carefully dipped in and out of Everton’s team and only this week manager Carlo Ancelotti – a confirmed fan of the player who quite fancied taking him to former club Napoli before Everton stepped in – urged patience with his teenage striker.
Kean’s selection to partner Dominic Calvert-Lewin in attack against Newcastle represented the first occasion on which he’d been named to start successive Premier League matches.
The way Kean tore about the pitch in the opening exchanges led some observers to wonder how long it would be before the teenager ran out of puff.
No sign of him fatiguing when haring up Everton’s left flank and being crudely stopped in his tracks by a body check from Sean Longstaff, an episode which got Evertonians off their seats.
And right after half-time Keane would complete the Longstaff double, bundling Sean off the ball in midfield and dodging the challenge of brother Matty as he progressed upfield.
Kean drew further approval following the Sean Longstaff obstruction by chasing down Isaac Hayden and then Dubravka in the same passage of play.
He was switched on and willing defensively, powerfully heading a Newcastle corner 20 yards upfield.
All this prior to his big chance.
Bernard’s touch was characteristically wonderful to reign in a ball hooked infield by Calvert-Lewin.
The Brazilian’s lobbed pass for Kean was equally deft.
Kean had tested Dubravka once from distance 12 minutes earlier. Now on the half hour he could see the whites of the Slovak keeper’s eyes.
Goodison collectively willed Kean to score and he obliged. The forward’s right foot shot squirmed through Dubravka and Kean exploded in joy.
Off he went to the corner flag, dancing a jig of delight.
Run out of puff? Not likely.
Jordan Pickford reached a century of successive Everton Premier League appearances tonight.
He was denied a clean sheet in the most deflating fashion but his milestone nevertheless deserves recognition.
The goalkeeper’s unbroken run since joining in summer 2017 is testament to both his talent and endurance.
Stretch his sequence a further three games and Pickford will dislodge Joleon Lescott from second in the list of Everton’s consecutive Premier League appearance makers.
He’s got a long way to go to match Tim Howard’s exceptional 210-match run.
But Pickford’s career has a long way to go, too.
The former Sunderland player is a relative colt in goalkeeping terms. He is 25 and, fitness permitting, will feature in his second major international tournament when England contest this year’s European Championship.
Neville Southall had two months on loan at Port Vale in his 25th year. Brondby sold Peter Schmeichel to Manchester United when the Dane was 27.
One of Pickford’s predecessors in the England goal, David Seaman, won the first of his 75 Three Lions caps aged 25.
Pickford had recorded 30 clean sheets in his 99 top-flight Everton games before this one after coming to the Club as a 23-year-old with one Premier League campaign under his belt.
By his own admission, the north easterner has narrowed his focus on Merseyside. Pickford’s concentration and appetite for the game were never in question as he emerged through Sunderland’s academy before dashing to all points for transformative loan spells.
At Everton, though, Pickford maintains he’s developed a more holistic view. He is paying attention to his diet and any number of extras he believes will count in his favour on matchdays.
Pickford’s renewed athleticism is feeding into both his agility and longevity.
You’ll go a long way to find a keeper more adept at protecting his goal in one-on-one situations. Indeed, we’re starting to run out of fingers when counting the number of times he’s denied premium strikers bearing down on goal.
Pickford’s reaction stops from Sebastien Haller and Pablo Fornals were integral to Everton leaving West Ham United’s London Stadium with a point on Saturday.
It another reflection of Pickford’s speedy progress that all 24 of his England appearances have come in the two-and-a-half years since he traded Sunderland for Everton. Pickford’s Premier League Goodison career was only 11 games old when he was handed a senior international debut against then World Champions Germany in November 2017.
He shutout the Germans but more than that showed the personality and conviction which are pre-requisites for a keeper with designs on lasting at the top of his sport.
Pickford is steadily marrying that outward spark with an inner cool and it is an effective combination which will serve him well the career stretching out in front of him.