James McCarthy on mark as Everton roll Newcastle over

Republic of Ireland midfielder opens his account at Goodison Park

Everton 3 Newcastle United 0

The pressure may have been on but no evidence was found on Everton. Roberto Martínez’s side produced a composed, controlled and clinical performance to re-establish a six-point gap between themselves and the relegation zone as Newcastle United self-destructed at Goodison Park.

Tim Krul dived out of the way of James McCarthy's first goal of the season, Yoan Gouffran gifted Romelu Lukaku his 17th of the campaign from the penalty spot and the visiting captain, Fabricio Coloccini, was sent off for a two-footed foul on Aaron Lennon before Ross Barkley completed the scoring in stoppage time.

Newcastle were as compliant as a team with only one win in nine away matches would suggest but, considering the stakes for Martínez and his players, this was a confident, morale-boosting show from the home side.

Martínez made five changes to the side that started against Dynamo Kyiv in the Europa League on Thursday and altered Everton's formation too, deploying Arouna Koné alongside Romelu Lukaku in a 4-3-3 to telling effect. The return of Darron Gibson and Leon Osman also brought a noticeable improvement in the range and speed of passing from central midfield.

Lukaku had called on his team-mates to continue where they left off against the Ukrainian league leaders and dictate the play but it was Newcastle who made the more aggressive start, pressing the Everton defence from the first whistle and almost taking the lead inside three minutes.

Gabriel Obertan was denied at close range by Tim Howard after Koné's clearance dropped to the French midfielder from a Ryan Taylor corner. The rebound fell to Mike Williamson, who appealed strongly for a penalty when his shot appeared to strike McCarthy's arm on the goalline. The midfielder's arm was across his chest when the incident occurred and the referee, Martin Atkinson, ignored Williamson's protests.

Newcastle enjoyed plenty of possession and pressure in the final third but lacked the quality to hurt Everton in the absence of suspended spitter Papiss Cissé. By contrast the home team, while more patient in their approach work, found gaps for the tireless Lennon and commanding Lukaku to exploit regularly. But it was still something of a surprise that McCarthy was ultimately the man to profit.

The Republic of Ireland international’s lack of goals, even attempts on goals, has long been a source of criticism but he read Lukaku’s intentions perfectly when the centre forward collected Phil Jagielka’s long ball and invited the midfielder to run into space. McCarthy took the lay-off, advanced and shot straight at Krul from the edge of the area. For some reason the Newcastle goalkeeper dived out of the way of the attempt and McCarthy had his first Everton goal at Goodison Park.

Martinez’s men have dropped more points from winning positions this season than any other Premier League team but any unease lifted when they were gifted a second by Gouffran early in the second half. Attempting to trick his way out of Newcastle’s penalty area, the forward failed to spot Lennon closing in and sent the on-loan winger tumbling after being dispossessed. Lukaku sent Krul the wrong way from the spot for his 17th goal of the season, one more than he achieved last season.

The visitors’ day deteriorated further three minutes later when Coloccini abdicated his captain’s responsibilities and invited a straight red card for a two-footed lunge on the impressive Lennon. Everton had chances to punish the 10-man but Krul saved well from Kone and Osman while Taylor blocked from substitute Barkley on the goal-line.

To their credit, Newcastle finished strongly and it took a superb save from Howard to deny Moussa Sissoko plus an equally fine challenge from Antolin Alcaraz to prevent Remy Cabella setting up a nervous finale. Barkley did get his goal in stoppage time, however, when fellow sub Christian Atsu broke from half-way and threaded a fine pass into the midfielder's stride. Barkley rounded Krul before sealing a vital win for Everton.

(Guardian service)

READ MORE