Everton fell to a 4-1 defeat at home to Newcastle United on Thursday evening.
A raucous atmosphere set by an electrifying coach welcome down Goodison Road filtered into the ground and set the tone for a blistering start from the home side. However, the Blues failed to capitalise on their early dominance and were punished when Callum Wilson gave Newcastle the lead after 28 minutes.
Joelinton doubled the away team's advantage as the game entered the final 20 minutes before Wilson grabbed his second three minutes later. Any hope of a comeback following Dwight McNeil's consolation goal direct from a corner with 10 minutes remaining was quickly squashed as Jacob Murphy tapped home from close-range one minute later.
For the contest, Amadou Onana, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Ben Godfrey returned to Everton's starting line-up as Sean Dyche made three changes from Saturday's trip to Crystal Palace.
It didn't take long for Everton's first chance flurry of chances to arrive. With just four minutes on the clock, an Iwobi cross just missed the diving head of Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Seconds later, Doucoure followed up with a low strike that rebounded off a defender's leg and into the path of Iwobi. He then attempted an effort of his own. It was high and wide, but the Blues' early intent was clear.
Gana drilled a fierce strike into the arms of Pope two minutes later as the away side visibly struggled with the intensity being set by Everton.
Newcastle were so close to being undone as the game approached the 20-minute mark when Doucoure released Calvert-Lewin inside the penalty area. The forward attempted to chop inside onto his left foot but got tangled with Sven Botman and was pulled to the floor - referee Andre Marriner waved away any faint calls for a penalty.
McNeil was next to test the hands of Pope as Everton pushed hard to make their early dominance count.
The opening goal continued to evade the Blues, though, and instead, it was the visitors who went ahead through a huge slice of luck.
Joelinton drove down Everton’s right side with Newcastle’s first attack of note. He cut in and fired the ball goalwards. Pickford parried the effort away but it fell right into the path of Wilson who managed to smash the ball into the back of the Blues’ net.
The goal settled the nerves of the away side who started to show more composure in their possession play, yet, Everton continued to push to find a crucial equaliser.
That nearly came on two occasions as the game approached first-half stoppage time. First, Keane met a low Iwobi corner but could only direct his right-footed effort wide of Pope's post.
Then, Calvert-Lewin latched onto an excellent McNeil through ball before chipping over Pope to send Goodison wild, however, the linesman's flag and subsequent VAR check showed that Everton No.9 was an inch - at most - offside.
It was nearly a nightmare start to the second half when Joseph Willock found space inside the Everton penalty area to strike an effort goalwards, but Tarkowski put in a superb block to deny the winger.
Everton responded well and with a spell of dominance similar to what they had displayed in the opening moments of the first half. However, they struggled to convert it into tangible efforts on the Newcastle goal.
As the half progressed, neither side was able to establish any sort of free-flowing rhythm and genuine chances fell few and far between.
That was until the game entered the final 20 minutes of the match when a well-struck Willock volley forced a stunning fingertip save to keep the deficit to one goal.
The second did come minutes later as a Willcock skipped past Godfrey and found Joelinton in the penalty area to head Newcastle's second.
A third followed minutes later when Wilson curled a strike into the top corner of Pickford's net. McNeil's goal direct from the corner was followed quickly by Murphy's close-range strike to seal the points for the visitors.