Sunday 13 May 2012 3pm
Newcastle United 1 (Hibbert og 73)
Some fans next to us thought that certain players had already accepted today was a lost cause, not sure that I agreed with that but I did think the team as a whole made it far too easy for Everton.
Today Newcastle were out-scored, out-fought, out-thought, out-cheated, out…..everything.
At one point we were two down and West Brom had came back to lead Arsenal, this was my ultimate nightmare. Newcastle’s failings meaning we were also-rans, rather than the other clubs having to win the right to compete in the Champions League. It was almost a relief when the Gooners fought back.
Newcastle United are still a work in progress and sometimes it is easy to forget that, whereas Everton are a team who pretty much all know their jobs after countless seasons of experience.
Of today’s starting line-up, realistically you could only say Coloccini and Jonas have real long-term experience as first choice regulars at St.James’ Park, even Cheick Tiote only had 49 first team starts for Newcastle going into today.
With flair players, when they click they click and when they don’t….they don’t.
We saw the downside of Ben Arfa as he struggled to influence the match and was caught short at times defensively, while Papiss Cisse had no shortage of effort but when you have a player who is all about goals – he can look average overall when he doesn’t put them away.
It was actually Demba Ba who for me looked to be back in some kind of form, he gave their defenders the most worries but just couldn’t connect properly with the chances that came his way.
Newcastle had actually started ok in a generally scrappy opening period but it was game over when after only sixteen minutes Mike Williamson turned his back on a Pienaar shot which deflected past Krul.
Poor defending and it also reinforced my belief that it is a shoddy affair when one Premiership club can loan another one players. Spurs could have potentially finished top four thanks to Pienaar (their player!) scoring against us.
Anyway, thanks to other results and Newcastle’s general play it didn’t matter either way.
Jelavic making it two on twenty seven minutes after an outrageous handball that was surely so obvious it couldn’t be missed but….it was.
Newcastle at last had a few minutes of pressure as the break approached but Jonas curled it wide with his left foot just on the stroke of half-time.
Indeed if we had a man of the match it was probably Marveaux, his ease on the ball in contrast to many of his fellow players, maybe only Colo and Jonas any competition.
Cisse went close straight after the break while Ba fashioned a couple of chances with his strength and know how but it was three to the scousers as Hetinga met a regulation free-kick with Ryan Taylor trailing in his wake.
Hibbert managed to pull one back for us but it was very much too little too late.
The Everton players have been around the block plenty times and maybe it showed, right across the pitch they had better performers and sometimes you just have to hold your hands up.
The league table says Newcastle are the better team but undoubtedly those in black and white were second best today.
I must admit to disliking Tim Cahill but it was little consolation when he ended up getting sent off after the final whistle as he clashed with Cabaye.
Everton: Tim Howard, Tony Hibbert, John Heitinga (Sylvain Distin 70), Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Leon Osman, Phil Neville (Tim Cahill 74), Darron Gibson, Steven Pienaar, Marouane Fellaini, Nikica Jelavic (Denis Stracqualursi 83)
Subs not used: Jan Mucha, Seamus Coleman, Ross Barkley, Magaye Gueye
Newcastle United: Tim Krul, James Perch (Sylvain Marveaux 46), Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Davide Santon (Ryan Taylor 46), Hatem Ben Arfa, Cheick Tiote (Shola Ameobi 82), Yohan Cabaye, Jonas Gutierrez, Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba
Subs not used: Rob Elliot, Shane Ferguson, Dan Gosling, Gabriel Obertan
Referee: Andre Marriner
Attendance: 39, 517 (3,000 Newcastle)