LIVERPOOL, United Kingdom– Everton suffered late heartbreak as
Newcastle United scored twice in stoppage time to smuggle a point out of
Goodison Park after Moise Kean’s first Everton goal and Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s
10th Premier League strike of the season put the hosts firmly in command.
Calvert-Lewin’s strike nine
minutes after half-time added to Kean’s goal on the half hour. But substitute
Florian Leujeune hooked in four minutes into added time and 60 seconds later
forced the ball home amid an almighty scramble to rescue a draw for his side.
We are running dry on superlatives
for Calvert-Lewin, the Everton striker who scored his 10th Premier League goal
of the season – from only 17 starts, to boot – to stretch his side’s advantage
over Newcastle United.
Calvert-Lewin, to quote Carlo Ancelotti, is developing into a fantastic player.
On this night, however, Everton’s
striking plaudits went to Kean.
He’s imagined his first Goodison
Park goal over and over, no doubt.
It arrived after 30 minutes of a
match Everton dominated without completely putting away their disciplined and
Kean fastened onto a lovely lobbed
ball from Bernard and rifled an effort through goalkeeper Martin Dubravka at
the Gwladys Street End.
Cue pandemonium inside Goodison
and a release of emotion from Kean following his first Premier League goal. He
was so happy.
Likewise Calvert-Lewin after Lucas
Digne sliced open Newcastle’s defence for the striker to plant a left-footed
strike across Dubravka nine minutes after half-time.
Twice in two minutes shortly
before the halfway point of the opening 45 minutes Newcastle keeper Dubravka
was responsible for keeping his side on level terms.
Kean tested the Slovak with a
skidding drive which Dubravka made a bit of a meal of pushing out to his right.
The Newcastle keeper’s handling
was much surer two minutes earlier.
Everton were feeding cross after
cross into their opponents’ box – 11 from open play by the interval.
This one was served up by Fabian
Delph and cleared by Ciaran Clark. But only as far as Djibril Sidibe whose scorching
return was held by Dubravka tumbling low to his right.
Sidibe’s day job ostensibly is to
defend and he was doing it rather well. On nine minutes the French right-back
made a crucial intervention to prevent Matty Longstaff, running from midfield,
fastening onto a cute pass from Miguel Almiron.
Sidibe broke Ritchie’s heart with
a fabulous piece of back-post work to deny the Newcastle player a clear header
at goal following a whipped Almiron delivery from the left.
Newcastle came here without any of
their first-choice full-backs – all wiped out by injury – and employed Ritchie
and Isaac Hayden, both midfielders by trade, as wing-backs.
Hayden was unsure early on.
Bernard picked the Londoner’s pocket before darting forwards and sending in a
ball headed out by Jamaal Lascelles.
An attempted crossfield pass from
Delph proved too hot for the auxiliary defender to handle, too, Hayden juggling
it into touch.
Hayden was in more comfortable
territory when bustling forward to cross for Joelinton three minutes before
The South American’s effort didn’t
call on Jordan Pickford to dirty his gloves and that was the story of the
entire opening half for Everton’s goalkeeper on his 100th successive Premier
It was Everton making most of the
running. Sidibe’s first piece of smart defending was followed immediately by
the home team breaking and Theo Walcott feeding in a ball which somehow eluded
both Kean and Calvert-Lewin.
Ritchie’s deflection on a Bernard
delivery hurried the ball out of reach of Yerry Mina in front of goal and, two
minutes after Kean brought the house down, Calvert-Lewin was narrowly wide with
a left footer from 20 yards.
Dubravka flung out a paw to
intercept when Bernard’s centre was set for Calvert-Lewin shortly after half-time.
Credit to Dubravka for his part in
thwarting Bernard following Everton’s next raid. Walcott’s weighted pass freed
Bernard but before he could get his shot away the Everton forward had Dubravka
flying at his feet.
Bernard hoisted the ball over his
opponent but not back down quick enough to find the net.
No matter. Calvert-Lewin made
capital on Digne’s wonderful pass to double Everton’s advantage.
Dubravka’s outstretched right hand
turned round Bernard’s dipping blast on 73 minutes and Mina was wide with a
header after Walcott stood up a ball to the far post.
The overworked keeper dived to his
left to save a Calvert-Lewin effort after the forward strode onto a return pass
from Sidibe and swiped goalwards from 18 yards.
Everton were swarming all over
beaten Newcastle now. Digne’s lashed cross into a penalty-box crowd was
deflected behind and Dubravka clung to an arrowed drive from the immaculate
The Blues looked to be cruising to
victory until Lejeune acorbatically converted from inside the penalty box to
give Newcastle hope.
And the Frenchman, on for Clark
after 70 minutes, forced the ball past Pickford after Sean Longstaff hung a
free-kick into the area to spark a scrum in Everton’s six-yard box.
Goodison Park roared its
appreciation. The stadium announcer had just boomed out the identity of
Everton’s first goalscorer.
And the noise which greeted the
name of Moise Kean rivalled that which erupted when the Italian’s shot squeezed
beyond the previously faultless Martin Dubravka and into the net.
All good things come in threes and
when Kean made way for Seamus Coleman on 71 minutes the player was granted an
There has been an enormous amount
of goodwill towards Kean. He is 19, in a foreign country and playing football
which is alien to anything he’s known.
Moreover, Kean has been carefully
dipped in and out of Everton’s team and only this week manager Carlo Ancelotti
– a confirmed fan of the player who quite fancied taking him to former club
Napoli before Everton stepped in – urged patience with his teenage striker.
Kean’s selection to partner
Dominic Calvert-Lewin in attack against Newcastle represented the first
occasion on which he’d been named to start successive Premier League matches.
The way Kean tore about the pitch
in the opening exchanges led some observers to wonder how long it would be
before the teenager ran out of puff.
No sign of him fatiguing when
haring up Everton’s left flank and being crudely stopped in his tracks by a
body check from Sean Longstaff, an episode which got Evertonians off their
And right after half-time Keane
would complete the Longstaff double, bundling Sean off the ball in midfield and
dodging the challenge of brother Matty as he progressed upfield.
Kean drew further approval
following the Sean Longstaff obstruction by chasing down Isaac Hayden and then
Dubravka in the same passage of play.
He was switched on and willing
defensively, powerfully heading a Newcastle corner 20 yards upfield.
All this prior to his big chance.
Bernard’s touch was
characteristically wonderful to reign in a ball hooked infield by
The Brazilian’s lobbed pass for
Kean was equally deft.
Kean had tested Dubravka once from
distance 12 minutes earlier. Now on the half hour he could see the whites of
the Slovak keeper’s eyes.
Goodison collectively willed Kean
to score and he obliged. The forward’s right foot shot squirmed through
Dubravka and Kean exploded in joy.
Off he went to the corner flag,
dancing a jig of delight.
Run out of puff? Not likely.
Jordan Pickford reached a century
of successive Everton Premier League appearances tonight.
He was denied a clean sheet in the most deflating fashion but his milestone
nevertheless deserves recognition.
The goalkeeper’s unbroken run
since joining in summer 2017 is testament to both his talent and endurance.
Stretch his sequence a further
three games and Pickford will dislodge Joleon Lescott from second in the list
of Everton’s consecutive Premier League appearance makers.
He’s got a long way to go to match
Tim Howard’s exceptional 210-match run.
But Pickford’s career has a long
way to go, too.
The former Sunderland player is a
relative colt in goalkeeping terms. He is 25 and, fitness permitting, will
feature in his second major international tournament when England contest this
year’s European Championship.
Neville Southall had two months on
loan at Port Vale in his 25th year. Brondby sold Peter Schmeichel to Manchester
United when the Dane was 27.
One of Pickford’s predecessors in
the England goal, David Seaman, won the first of his 75 Three Lions caps aged
Pickford had recorded 30 clean sheets
in his 99 top-flight Everton games before this one after coming to the Club as
a 23-year-old with one Premier League campaign under his belt.
By his own admission, the north
easterner has narrowed his focus on Merseyside. Pickford’s concentration and appetite
for the game were never in question as he emerged through Sunderland’s academy
before dashing to all points for transformative loan spells.
At Everton, though, Pickford
maintains he’s developed a more holistic view. He is paying attention to his diet
and any number of extras he believes will count in his favour on matchdays.
Pickford’s renewed athleticism is
feeding into both his agility and longevity.
You’ll go a long way to find a
keeper more adept at protecting his goal in one-on-one situations. Indeed,
we’re starting to run out of fingers when counting the number of times he’s
denied premium strikers bearing down on goal.
Pickford’s reaction stops from
Sebastien Haller and Pablo Fornals were integral to Everton leaving West Ham
United’s London Stadium with a point on Saturday.
It another reflection of
Pickford’s speedy progress that all 24 of his England appearances have come in
the two-and-a-half years since he traded Sunderland for Everton. Pickford’s
Premier League Goodison career was only 11 games old when he was handed a
senior international debut against then World Champions Germany in November
He shutout the Germans but more
than that showed the personality and conviction which are pre-requisites for a
keeper with designs on lasting at the top of his sport.
Pickford is steadily marrying that
outward spark with an inner cool and it is an effective combination which will
serve him well the career stretching out in front of him.