Wayne Rooney scored the only goal of the game.

The build-up to his winner wasn’t great but the way Karl Darlow gifted the ball to Rooney was embarrassingly bad.

Wayne Rooney claimed that ‘It was a tough game’ and the visitors ‘made the most of the chances we had’.

However, Newcastle were so short of ideas going forward that once the scousers went ahead, the match rarely looked in doubt.

This was Rooney’s 15th career goal against Newcastle and little wonder he said St James Park is ‘a ground I enjoy playing at’.

Against Sam Allardyce the last thing NUFC had to do was concede a soft opening goal and it was handed on a plate – desperate stuff.

Wayne Rooney:

“It was a tough game.

“We’ve come here and, although Newcastle haven’t been on a great run of form, it’s always a difficult game, especially when you’re looking to pick up three points.

“We dug in, defended really well and made the most of the chances we had.

“We’re delighted and it’s a great win for us.

“I’ve scored quite a few goals here – it’s a ground I enjoy playing at.

“Thankfully today it’s got us three points.

“We know it’s a difficult period coming on, the Christmas period is always difficult. It’s challenging for all of the players.

“We have to look at these next few games over Christmas, try and get as many points as we can and see how we come out of it.

“If we come out of it in a higher league position than we are, then I’m sure we’ll reassess our goals for the end of the season.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 0 Everton 1

Goals:

Everton: Rooney 27

Possession was Everton 45% Newcastle 55%

Total shots were  Everton 7 Newcastle 16

Shots on target were Everton 4 Newcastle 4

Corners were  Everton 1 Newcastle 4

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Lejeune, Manquillo, Ritchie (Aarons 74), Shelvey (sent off 90+4), Merino (Perez 86), Atsu, Diame (Joselu 67), Gayle

Unused Subs:

Elliot, Clark, Hayden, Murphy

Crowd: 51,042

(Read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the game HERE)

(Read the match ratings for all Newcastle players HERE)