MATCH CENTRE

Calvert-Lewin's Late Strike Earns Blues Hard-Fought Point

Dominic Calvert-Lewin's late strike from the penalty spot earned Everton a hard-fought 1-1 draw with Newcastle United at St James' Park.

The Blues fell behind after 15 minutes when Alexander Isak latched on to a lofted pass and prodded into the far corner of the net.

But the Toffees toiled and, following a triple substitution on the hour mark following a VAR check to deny the hosts a second goal of the night, were much-improved in the second half and eventually got their equaliser two minutes from the end when Calvert-Lewin dispatched a spot-kick.

Manager Sean Dyche made four changes from the side that started at Bournemouth three days prior, with Vitalii Mykolenko, Ashley Young, Idrissa Gana Gueye and Beto all recalled to the starting line-up.

Despite the difference in objectives as the season approaches its final stretch - the Blues vying for Premier League safety while the hosts continue to chase European football for next term - the head-to-head Premier League record heading into this clash was remarkably level, with both sides winning 23 games each, 11 games drawn and even both sides scoring and conceding 79 goals apiece.

Both teams produced but squandered early sights on goal, with Jordan Pickford first denying Harvey Barnes from close range before Abdoulaye Doucoure fired over the crossbar after neat play down the Blues' left minutes later.

James Tarkowski - captain for the night with Seamus Coleman on the bench - then headed over the target from an inviting Dwight McNeil free-kick following a bull-dozing run from Beto.

The opening goal came after quarter of an hour in disappointing circumstances for the Toffees. Barnes' lofted pass over the top was seized on by Isak, who cut-back on to his right foot before prodding home into the far corner.

Everton's best move of the opening period came a couple of minutes before the half-time whistle, when, after promising build-up play down the right flank, the visitors worked the ball across the face of the penalty area. Amadou Onana eventually found Doucoure with a fizzing pass but the midfielder's left-footed effort was well held by Martin Dubravka.

Tarkowski survived a scare four minutes after interval, as his sliced clearance flew past Pickford in goal and grazed the post before bouncing to safety.

The hosts thought they had doubled their lead just before the hour, playing a free-kick quickly into the right channel, where Isak squared for Dan Burn to convert from close range - but a subsequent VAR check confirmed the Swede had moved into an offside position and the goal was ruled out. 

That moment sparked a triple subsisutiton from Dyche, with Calvert-Lewin, Andre Gomes and James Garner.

It was a move that changed the course of the contest.

One of those changes - Garner - nearly levelled just a few minutes later. A positive pass in the midfielder's direction initially hit his heel, but he pivoted quickly before watching his low curling shot cannon back off the inside of the post and agonisingly drift away from danger.

Pegged back, Newcastle were now forced to play on the counter-attack but then went close to notching a second of the evening after a sweeping passage of play that saw Barnes' cut-back from the byline headed towards goal by Isak, only for Mykolenko to clear it off the line.

But Everton were undeterred and remained on top.

Their moment came a few minutes from the end when a delivery into the penalty area saw substitute Paul Dummett wrestle Young to the ground, an action that VAR recommended referee Tony Harrington review - and after watching a replay of the incident on a pithcside monitor, the match official pointed to the penalty spot.

It was a long wait for Calvert-Lewin, who displayed nerves of steel to step up and smash past Dubravka to end his long wait for a goal.

Both sides pushed for a winner late on but would be forced to settle for a point apiece.

Next up for Everton is a return to Goodison Park to host Burnley on Saturday (3pm BST).