One moment can change Everton’s season.
That was the message from Frank Lampard and his players going into this key contest with Newcastle under the lights at Goodison.
It came deep into injury-time in one of the most dramatic matches in this proud club’s recent history.
The Blues – down to 10 men after a controversial red card for Allan late on – looked to be hanging on for a point as 14 minutes of injury-time were shown.
But Lampard’s men had other ideas as substitute Dominic Calvert-Lewin slid in Alex Iwobi for the forward to finish past Martin Dubravka, send Evertonians delirious, and secure a quite-brilliant victory that the Blues will hope can turn their season.
The pre-match calls from Everton fans’ groups on social media for a typical cauldron of noise for a Goodison night game were heard loud and clear as the Grand Old Lady rocked shortly before kick-off and early into the clash.
The raucous atmosphere slotted the Blues into top gear, too, as Ben Godfrey – starting at left-back in place of Vitalii Mykolenko – zipped down the left flank on three minutes before sliding in Demarai Gray whose cross was too close to Martin Dubravka as the keeper gathered at the second attempt.
The two Blues combined again a minute later as Gray’s outswinging corner was nodded down by Godfrey into the arms of Dubravka.
Having been pinned back in the early exchanges, Newcastle – full of confidence after losing just one of their previous nine league matches – upped the ante.
On 11 minutes, Ryan Fraser’s deep cross from the left found Chris Wood inside the area as the striker planted a header straight at Begovic from eight yards out.
Fraser then had the best chance of the first half as he was played clean through the middle by Joe Willock only for Seamus Coleman to race back and thwart the Scotland international with a perfectly-timed tackle before picking himself up and clearing the ball out for a throw.
Newcastle continued to threaten with a succession of corners, Mason Holgate having to turn behind a dangerous ball along the six-yard box while Wood headed over from close range.
With the Blues needing inspiration to regain a foothold back in the contest, Allan duly obliged on 37 minutes with a silky run from the halfway line, twisting Willock and playing in Richarlison that may not have carved out a genuine chance but sparked Goodison back into full voice.
That was matched three minutes before the break as Gordon went all in for a meaty 50/50 challenge with Fraser that saw the Academy graduate come out on top, before he twisted and flighted a delicate high ball down the left that was inches away from setting Gray in the clear.
After plenty of huffing and puffing from both sides in the early blows of the second half, it was Everton who made the first move to threaten just before the hour mark as Coleman did well to cut down the right edge of the penalty area and lay a pass back to Gray who blasted a half volley wide of the right post from 15 yards out.
With chances at a premium, two came along in a matter of seconds at both ends on 70 minutes. When Coleman’s blocked shot fell into the path of Gray on the edge of the area, Goodison held its breath as the forward shaped to apply the finish, only for the ball to deflect off Burn.
As Newcastle countered, Almiron broke down the right, cut inside and squared a pass back to Bruno Guimarares whose finish was clawed away by Begovic.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin entered proceedings shortly after and made an immediate impact with his first touch, flicking on a header for Doucoure to slide in Richarlison before the Brazilian was chopped down on the edge of the box by Matt Targett.
While Gordon saw his resulting free-kick deflected wide, he was so close moments later when he slid into space from 20 yards out and drilled a shot that was heading for the top left-hand corner before Dubravka tipped over the bar.
The Blues burst into life once more as Richarlison arched in a low cross from the left that was inches away from being tucked home by Calvert-Lewin.
Then came the game’s major taking point with 10 minutes remaining. Coleman collected the ball and tricked his way along the right byline before looking to have his leg clipped by Bruno as he shaped to pass.
Referee Pawson waved play on and, as substitute Saint-Maximin broke clear in the centre circle, he was taken down by Allan. The Brazilian was shown a yellow card – which looked the correct decision – only for VAR official Stuart Attwell to deem otherwise and ask Pawson to take a look leading, to the bewilderment of Goodison and everyone in blue, to a red card for Allan instead.
As 14 minutes of added time were signalled, Everton were forced into last-gasp defending to keep Newcastle at bay.
But there was to be one last beautiful twist.
When the Blues had a rare chance to counter, Calvert-Lewin was played in on goal. The England striker looked to have missed his chance when the ball got stuck under his feet but, crucially, he was still able to turn and slide in Iwobi whose first-time finish sailed into the far corner.
Cue pandemonium around Goodison. Three vital points in the bag. One of the most dramatic nights at the Grand Old Lady for many years and, crucially, new life into Everton’s season.