COMMENTARY KEY MOMENTS
Result: Everton 2-2 Newcastle
WRAP: Right, well, night everybody. Fabulous game. Monday night games tend to serve up a thrill or two, whether it's the status of being the last act on the bill, the fervour of a weeknight crowd or an ardent desire to impress Gary Neville. This was a real treat from start to finish. The first half belonged to Baines; the second to Ba; the result in part to Mike Jones. We could talk about this game all night, but we've got at least 18 hours of Champions League hype to fit in as well. That will come tomorrow night, in the shape of Arsenal v Montpellier and Real Madrid v Gillingham. Sorry, Manchester City. Still get those two mixed up. Thanks for reading, and see you soon.
22.02 "It was behind me," says Steve Harper of the ghost goal. "I genuinely thought I'd saved it, biut apparently it was over the line. I made myself as big as I could, got the ball onto the bar, and what goes around comes around. The manager wasn't happy at half time, rightly so. The spirit in the camp is fantastic. We didn't give up, and when you've got Demba and Papiss and Hatem's quality, you're never far away."
21.56 "Two disallowed goals, I cant believe it," sighs Josh, an Everton fan. "This online commentary is killing me." The first disallowed goal was perfectly correct; the second harsh. Factor in the goal that wasn't - and let's try not to mention the fateful words 'go----ne te------gy' - and you could argue that fate has rather served Everton some dodgy curry there. But they had plenty of opportunities to make the game safe in the first half, and didn't take them. I suppose it's a case of six of one, five of the other, and the last one wasn't seen by the linesman.
FULL TIME Everton 2-2 Newcastle One of those games you just never want to end. The sort of game you want to tell people about, to exalt for days. Some wonderful play, some pretty abject refereeing, and a narrative that got unlikelier and unlikelier as it went on.
90+3 min Howard pumps it upfield, looking for the head of Fellaini. Williamson heads it clear. Anichebe fouls Perch as he tries to get onto the loose ball. That could be it.
90+2 min It was Williamson with the long ball, Ameobi angling it into Ba's path with his chest, and Ba nudging it in with the sole of his foot. Cabaye's off. Bigirimana replaces him.
90 min GOAL! Everton 2-2 Newcastle (Ba)
Unbelievable! Newcastle have dragged themselves level again! Ameobi's flick on, Ba poked it under Howard, and the next second or so would have felt like a minute to both sets of fans, as the ball trickled slowly but surely over the line, beyond Jagielka's desperate slide. Four minutes of injury time!
89 min "For the second time in a week, justice is done on Merseyside," says Alan Parry. Not to, you know, blow things wildly out of proportion. Ameobi's been booked, I should inform you, but I'd be lying if I said I knew what for. It's been that sort of half.
88 min GOAL! Everton 2-1 Newcastle (Anichebe)
Victor Anichebe has surely won it for Everton! Minutes after he had bundled the ball over the line, he latches on to Pienaar's pass in the area, turns Taylor far too easily, and tucks the ball brilliantly past Harper with his left foot!
86 min Ben Arfa! A glorious chance to win it! He goes clear and has time to get a left footed shot away, but Howard just about gets enough on it to grab it at the second attempt. What a second half this is!
84 min Fellaini's lucky to get away with that one! He left his foot in as he challenged Williamson for the ball, and just caught the defender on the ankle. Mike Jones decides he doesn't want to inflame things any more than, you know, he already has, and shows him just a yellow card.
83 min Mirallas has paid for that. Naismith is on in his place. A few minutes earlier, Cisse was brought off for Shola Ameobi.
82 min Anichebe's clean through! But he can't control the bouncing ball, he can't get it out from under his feet, and he isn't clean through for long. The ball comes inside to Mirallas, who has Osman scorching the turf with his late run. But Mirallas, who's shown a distinct disinclination to pass the ball when well set so far, instead decides to turn, turn again, and shoot straight at Harper.
81 min We've managed to get a screen grab of the ball crossing the line. That's Williamson, number 6, just clearing the ball a fraction too late.
79 min 'Scenes', as the kids say these day. Absolute scenes. Pienaar's been booked for his unsubtle scythe on Ben Arfa. Both sets of fans now booing the referee.
78 min Anichebe has the ball over the line! Surely! No! It's not given! And now Newcastle break with Ben Arfa, who has three on one! But Mike Jones has blown for a foul on Ben Arfa when he should have played the advantage! A nightmarish 20 seconds for Jones, who first of all ruled out a perfectly good goal by Anichebe after Jagielka had headed the ball back across goal. The ball didn't cross the line by much, but, you know. But then, as Ben Arfa crossed the halfway line, he had Ba and Cisse completely unmarked outside him. Pienaar slid in, clipped him, but didn't bring him down. With Ben Arfa about to set Cisse clean through, he heard the whistle blowing behind him and to his horror, realised he'd been awarded a free-kick he didn't want. Madness.
76 min Fellaini hits the deck after an aerial challenge with Cisse. He landed with his shoulder, and the first thing he did with his one good arm was to call for the physio. He's fine, though. Free-kick to Everton just inside their own half.
75 min Osman! Just wide! With the left foot, trying to curl it into the near corner. He'd been patiently calling for the ball on the edge of the area as Baines and Pienaar combined down the left.
73 min Fellaini's had a sort of ho-hum night. He was pretty good in the first half, pretty ordinary in this. You wonder whether he's just reached that tipping point as a player when opposition managers devise plans to stop you. He's certainly been very closely tracked tonight, and here he's dispossessed by Cabaye.
71 min "Your SO biased and blatantly pro-Everton," Michael Connor writes. "You southeners are always the same, you think Manchester and London are the only places in the country!" You can't please everyone. Well, you can't please Michael Connor.
68 min A crazy 45 seconds! First of all Gutierrez's cross from the right is charged down by Distin, very possibly with the hand. But as Newcastle appeal, Everton's route-one clearance is being chased by Anichebe. Harper has to come way out of his area to head the ball clear. But immediately after that, another sky-scraping clearance almost finds Cisse, who had stayed upfield, and was close to gathering the ball 14 yards from goal. Jagielka managed to touch it away in the nick of time. Anybody's game, this, if by 'anybody' you mean 'either Everton, or Newcastle, or possibly both'.
66 min Ben Arfa, who's come into his own in the last 15 minutes, does well to shuffle into the left channel and tries a well-disguised low cross from Cisse. Jagielka just about gets there first.
64 min A bad back pass from Taylor sells Harper well short, and as Anichebe closes in on the ball, Harper just about gets there first. The pair collide spectacularly, and as generally happens in these situations, the free-kick goes the way of the goalkeeper. Loud boos from the Everton fans, but a real moment of class from Harper, as he pursues referee Mike Jones to insist that Anichebe was going for the ball. You see? Footballers aren't all scumbags! Some of them are real towers of class, and Steve Harper was just that right there.
62 min Cisse free six yards out, and he tries to dink the ball over Howard! Everton's offside trap fails them, but Cisse only just about has time to tap the bouncing ball over Howard with a raised foot. Harper's interested all the way, but it eventually nestles on top of the net.
60 min DISALLOWED GOAL (Everton) Fellaini has the ball in the net, and this looks like a harsh, harsh offside decision! Perch was playing Fellaini onside with his heel as he tried to play the offside trap. Fellaini ran onto it and tucked the ball past Harper, only for the whistle to blow immediately. That goal should have stood. We may, as they say, be hearing more about that later.
59 min Maroune Fellaini is 6ft 4in. If he'd been 6ft 5in, you fancy he'd have scored there. Magnificent work down the left by Baines - again - but his cross skims Fellaini's afro and out of danger.
58 min Meanwhile, on Twitter: Lineker gets pwned by Kompany.
Still, when you're Lineker, one Belgian is pretty much as good as another.
56 min Corner from the Everton left after Fellaini's shot is charged down. Fellaini himself tries to get on the end of Baines's corner, the ball comes out to Osman, who hits the ball on the volley, first time, from about 20 yards out. In loving memory of The Ball, last seen skewing off the outside of Leon Osman's foot at Goodison Park, September 17, 2012.
54 min Ben Arfa with a glorious opportunity to set Ba or Cisse free. He's about 30 yards out, closing in on goal, Ba to his left, Cisse to his right. But his pass is short - woefully short, unforgivably short - and Neville can get in to intercept.
53 min They've gone direct, Newcastle, and Everton don't really know how to deal with them at the moment. Ba beats Distin in the air. Jagielka needs to be at full stretch to stop Cisse from latching onto it.
51 min Nothing too expansive in the way of gesticulation by Pardew there. Just a simple pump of the fist before quietly sitting down again. He's in the posh seats, after all.
49 min GOAL! Everton 1-1 Newcastle (Ba)
The change works immediately! Super little finish from Ba after a pass of characteristic poise from Yohan Cabaye! Cabaye just picked the gap and weighted the pass perfectly. Ba had half a yard on Jagielka, but not much time, and just poked his shot away a fraction of a second before Howard was expecting him to. The ball was past him before he could get the dive in, and just sneaked into the far corner. Well! Newcastle deserve a goal about as much as they deserve a third nostril, but by heaven, they've got one. Sickening for Everton, who are going to have to react to Newcastle's change of formation before they go behind.
48 min Ben Arfa almost gives the ball away just outside his own penalty area! He's been playing so deep tonight he's practically been a second left-back. That, I would suggest, is one of the reasons Newcastle have defended so poorly. He's trying, bless him. He'd much rather be on the halfway line waiting for flick-ons, but Everton's dominance has forced him back and back and back.
46 min The second half his underway, and Demba Ba is on the football pitch. He's on for Marveaux.
21.04 Liverpool chief executive Ian Ayre has issued a statement thanking Everton for their Hillsborough tribute.
I would like to extend a heartfelt thank-you to all the staff and fans at Everton Football Club from everyone at Liverpool for the display of support you have shown the Hillsborough families tonight.
We've always been great rivals on the pitch but off it, the two clubs have always supported each other. In the immediate aftermath of the disaster, Everton Football Club was there for us and that solidarity was on display again last week when the Hillsborough Independent Panel's findings were revealed.
At times like this, football rivalries take a back seat - something that makes this city unique and I think supporters of both clubs can be immensely proud of the way they have conducted themselves over the past days, weeks and years since the tragedy.
HALF-TIME It's headed away, Mirallas doesn't have time to put the ball back in, and there endeth an utterly dominant half for Everton. The night began with their classy Hillsborough tribute and continued with some equally classy wing play from Baines. Newcastle lucky to still be in this, to be honest. See you in 15 ticks.
45+2 min Free-kick to Everton on the left. One more chance for Baines to swing the ball in.
45 min Fellaini fouls Cabaye. Three minutes of injury time will be played. What can Leighton Baines do in those three minutes? Will he run the length of the pitch before Roberto Carlos-ing the ball in from the left byline? Will be clear a goalbound shot off the line using his face? Will he punch a swan? All will be revealed.
43 min Jelavic is coming off. He's soldiered on gamely after biffing the goalpost two minutes in, but he's not looked entirely limber. Anichebe replaces him.
42 min Pienaar! Oh, why didn't you pass it, son? You can tell Leon Osman is expressing rather the same sentiment, but in slightly harsher terms. That was a wonderful opportunity to go 2-0 up. Pienaar stole the ball from Perch about 30 yards out, so he might have felt entitled to take the shot on. Thing is, he was trying to curl it past Harper with his right foot, and his right foot is very definitely his second best foot. But to his right, Osman was unmarked, about eight yards out, and screaming for it. They might have some words about that as they walk off.
40 min Mirallas has another pop! This time he cuts in from the right on his left foot. From the looks of it, he's equally adept at shooting off either foot. Harper can save it fairly easily, though.
38 min James Perch was booked in the ensuing scramble for the ball. Not Newcastle's night.
37 min Anita with a fierce shot! Is that in? No, Baines has cleared it off the line in the nick of time! It was one of Ben Arfa's first real contributions to the match, a low cross that Osman couldn't quite clear. Anita poked it goalwards, and Baines had to scramble to get across, and eventually managed to scrape the ball clear while sitting on his backside.
36 min Here's the pre-game tribute to the Hillsborough victims, featuring an Everton mascot and a Liverpool mascot. Sometimes football does pathos so well it doesn't even have to confect it.
34 min Cabaye with a dangerous challenge on Osman! Not dangerous in the sense that Osman was likely to get hurt - it was more of a friendly tap on the ankles - but because it was right in the middle of his own penalty area. Mike Jones waves away the appeals.
32 min Cabaye crosses. Jagielka clears. The rain is really beginning to pelt down at Goodison now. An impassive Alan Pardew, serving the second match of his touchline ban, squints through it.
30 min Jagielka hits the post! Everton break with pace - and Jagielka - and Jelavic's flick puts the ball directly into Jagielka's path. Jagielka lashes it from about 20 yards with the outside of his right foot, and it just clips the outside of the post
28 min Anita's going to go into the book. Late, late, late on Tony Hibbert. Anita glares quizzically at referee Mike Jones as if he's just said the word 'dench', but eventually resumes his business.
26 min Cisse was so close to equalising! Free-kick from the right after a foul by Distin, which is taken by Marveaux. It's a good one, but the initial cross is headed away and then headed back in by Anita. Cisse at the far post is completely unmarked about eight yards out, and his volley back across Howard's goal goes a couple of inches wide.
23 min Mirallas again! The Belgian is coming into the game a little more on his Premier League debut. Newcastle simply can't clear their lines, and Mirallas gets the ball with his back to goal. He manages to spin and get a left-footed shot away, but it's straight at Harper.
21 min Jelavic almost dances his way through! Newcastle are clinging on here. Jelavic completely nutmegged Anita before trying to slide the ball across. Gutierrez put the ball out.
19 min Mirallas again, and that's closer! He got hold of that all right, in an almost identical position, about 20 yards out, creating a yard of space with a little shimmy. This time the ball whistles just past the left post with Harper nowhere near it. A second goal wouldn't disgrace Everton here.
18 min Mirallas, who's been mostly playing down the centre, carves out a little space and carves out a shot from 20 yards. He doesn't really get hold of it, though, and Fellaini can't bring it under control.
16 min Newcastle don't look stunned by that goal. They look like it was exactly what they were expecting to happen. For the last ten minutes they've been practically penned in their own half, Cisse completely isolated, their wingers more preoccupied with defending than attacking.
14 min GOAL! Everton 1-0 Newcastle (Baines)
Leighton Baines! Brilliant goal! Once again, he and Pienaar were practically finishing each other's sentences on that left flank. It's another sublime one-two, Baines playing the ball into Pienaar's path, Pienaar flicking the ball deliciously back into Baines's with his heel. Baines glanced upwards for just a second to pick his spot, and fired the ball low under Harper from about 12 yards. Newcastle don't know how to play against Baines at the moment. Everton get the goal their early pressure deserves.
11 min Horrible finish by Pienaar to cap a superb piece of trickery from Baines! Fellaini takes up a position in the left channel and slips it outside to Baines before then remaining in position as a sort of disco-flavoured decoy. For while Perch is occupied with Fellaini, Baines has played a delicate one-two with Osman and got to the byline virtually unchecked. He picks out Pienaar in the area, who shoots from 10 yards with his right foot. Pienaar is not right-footed. The shot goes out of play for a throw.
10 min Baines dances inside. His low cross is blocked by Williamson, out for a throw. Here's what the injured Tim Krul thinks of tonight's game:
And here - no joke - is what Demba Ba's brother thinks of Alan Pardew leaving Demba on the bench:
8 min It's been Everton's game so far, but only just. Fellaini gets down the left and tries to cross on the run with his weaker foot. The ball goes straight out of play. "You're just a s--- Coloccini," the Newcastle fans sing.
7 min The first yellow card of the match goes to Phil Neville for a spicy, and definitely late, challenge on Cisse. The look on Neville's face is a sign that he can almost hear Gary tutting in the studio.
6 min "Everton reliably unreliable?" asks Clive Young. "You're on the money, Jon, but I'd suggest with two caveats. They're always reliably fun to watch at Goodison and whilst I don't have the stats to back the claim, they do seem to benefit enormously from the 'Donovan January Bounce'." Ah, who will be their Landon Donovan this January? My money's on Landon Donovan.
4 min Jelavic's shin slammed into the post as he followed through. That looks very, very painful. He's had a bit of treatment, and he's stepped gingerly back onto the pitch, but he doesn't look comfortable by any means.
2 min DISALLOWED GOAL (Everton) Jelavic has the ball in the net, but it won't count! Fellaini slides it across goal, and Jelavic stretches out a big toe to poke it in from about a yard out, but Darren Cann's flag goes up straight away. The goal won't count, but there's worse news than that for Everton: Jelavic crashed into the goalpost, and he hasn't got up.
20.01 I didn't even notice the mascots. Two of them, side by side, one in Everton blue, one in Liverpool red, one with the number 9 on her back, one with the number six on his. Not a dry eye in the house. Sir Alex Ferguson, whose United side play Newcastle in the League Cup next week, looks visibly moved. Anyway, we're under way.
19.59 A poignant moment at Goodison Park as the teams come out, and to a warm round of applause from the whole stadium, the 96 Liverpool fans who died at Hillsborough are remembered on the big screen while 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother' plays in the background. Proof that justice does not come with club colours.
19.40 Here are the teams, then. It's a first Premier League start for Everton's £6 million summer signing Kevin Mirallas. Gibson is injured and Naismith is dropped to the bench, so Mirallas and Hibbert are the two changes from the defeat to West Brom. Neville comes into midfield, and you'd expect Mirallas to divide his time between being a second striker and working the flanks. Fairly standard Everton layout.
There are five changes for Newcastle, and the most notable of them is the absence of Demba Ba. Only the bench for him. Perhaps Alan Pardew has decided that the only he can start both Ba and Cisse is in a 4-4-2, as Ba hasn't really pulled up any trees on the wing. Good to see Marveaux getting a run out, though. No Coloccini or Krul for Newcastle, by the way: they're both injured.
Everton (4-2-3-1): Howard; Hibbert, Distin, Jagielka, Baines; Neville,
Osman; Mirallas, Fellaini, Pienaar; Jelavic
Subs: Mucha, Heitinga, Gueye, Duffy, Coleman, Anichebe, Naismith.
Newcastle (4-3-3): Harper; Perch, Williamson, Taylor, Santon;
Gutierrez, Anita, Cabaye; Marveaux, Cisse, Ben Arfa.
Subs: Elliot, Tavernier, Bigirimana, Gosling, Obertan, Shola Ameobi, Ba.
19.00 Oh, hi there. Before the start of the season, Phil Neville joked that Everton had decided to hold their Christmas party in July this year. It seemed to work. The notoriously slow starters roared out of the blocks with impressive wins over Manchester United and Aston Villa.
Never mind that both their opponents played awfully. Everton hadn't let them. This was going to be their season, even more than that season where they qualified for the Champions League and then hilariously failed to make the group stage. Leighton Baines was the best left-back in the country. Marouane Fellaini had finally made the graduation from midfield robot to midfield Robocop. Steven Pienaar was back at a club that actually wanted him. People were finally 'getting' Tony Hibbert.
Then, of course, they lost 2-0 at West Brom. They weren't terrible, they just weren't very good, and if you're an Everton fan, you'll have seen plenty of those sorts of performances in the last few seasons. The moral, in so far that there is one? The only thing you can rely on Everton to be is utterly unreliable. It's what makes them such a fascinating prospect to watch.
Of course, much the same could traditionally be said of Newcastle. It's hard to know whether Newcastle are currently punching above their weight or below it. Let us not forget that this week three years ago, they were playing Plymouth Argyle at home. But then - and thanks to Sky Sports for this stat - "on this day 15 years ago, Faustino Asprilla scored a hat-trick in Newcastle's 3-2 home Champions League win against Barcelona". If Everton are quixotic, Newcastle are quicksilver, from head to toe.
I suppose I'd better find you some team news.