Everton fell to only a second Premier League defeat since November as Callum Wilson's double earned Newcastle United a 2-0 win at Goodison Park on Saturday.
James Rodriguez and Dominic Calvert-Lewin had gone closest to making a breakthrough for the Blues but both were denied by excellent stops from Magpies goalkeeper Karl Darlow.
Wilson's fine header on 73 minutes opened the scoring, however, and the striker struck his second in stoppage time as Everton committed men forward in search of a leveller.
The result checks Everton’s momentum as Carlo Ancelotti’s side aim to secure European qualification but the Blues remain within striking distance of the Premier League top four.
The Toffees do not have long to wait for their chance to deliver an instant response. Everton visit Leeds United on Wednesday, with the Blues aiming to record a fourth successive Premier League away victory.
Everton started brightly against Newcastle and James created the game’s first meaningful chance on five minutes.
He whipped in a cross laced with typical swerve and dip from the left-hand side. Darlow raced off his line to punch clear but Yerry Mina got his head there first – the defender’s effort went fractions past the post.
The Colombian duo threatened again soon after.
James’ cross from the right was met by Mina but, on this occasion, his header was made that much more difficult by the fact Lascelles got a deflection on the centre, and his attempt went over the bar.
Darlow was forced into action on 21 minutes when he beat away Richarlison’s well-struck shot from the edge of the area.
Newcastle grew into the contest, though, and Jonjoe Shelvey’s drive deflected off Mina’s foot and trickled past Jordan Pickford’s right-hand post.
And only Pickford’s exceptional athleticism and reflexes prevented Wilson from giving them the lead on the half-hour mark.
Wilson leapt high to powerfully head Ryan Fraser’s cross at goal from 10 yards – the ball looked certain to fly into the Gwladys Street net but Pickford spectacularly tipped the striker’s effort onto the crossbar.
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ANCELOTTI: OUR ATTITUDE WAS NOT GOOD ENOUGH
Back came Everton and the Blues created two chances in quick succession. First Calvert-Lewin’s brilliant backheel put James through one-on-one with Darlow – the playmaker’s strike was just too close to the Newcastle keeper, who made the save.
Richarlison then shot inches wide from the edge of the box when teed up by Abdoulaye Doucoure.
The dangerous Wilson had a gilt-edged opportunity to give Newcastle the lead early in the second half. Put through on goal by Fraser, the striker screwed his shot wide.
Everton almost made the away side pay when Calvert-Lewin’s curler was tipped wide by Darlow.
It was Newcastle who were to strike the key blow, however, with Wilson expertly heading in from Shelvey’s corner delivery.
Everton probed in search of a leveller, regularly advancing into dangerous areas in the final third.
The Blues struggled to create any clear-cut opportunities, however, as Newcastle defended resolutely.
And as Everton continued to pour forward in the game's final stages, Wilson broke clear and slotted past Pickford to secure maximum points for the away team.