Everton 1 Newcastle Utd 0
EVERTON: Martyn, Hibbert, Yobo, Weir, Neville, Arteta (Osman 79), Davies, Cahill, Van der Meyde (Kilbane 76), Beattie (Bent 85), McFadden.
Subs Not Used: Wright, Kroldrup.
NEWCASTLE UTD: Given, Ramage, Bramble, Boumsong, Babayaro (Luque 51), Solano (Bowyer 60), Parker, Emre, N'Zogbia, Shearer, Ameobi.
Subs Not Used: Harper, Faye, Clark.
The Mags went to Goodison with a strike force of Alan Shearer and Shola Ameobi, and for the first-half gave as much as they got. It was rough and tumble, but what do expect from an Everton side fighting for their Premiership existence? Sadly we went down the same road, and rather than show them how to play football, ended up in a schoolyard punch-up. Referee Howard Webb booked six players - five from Newcastle - but I'm sure Graham Poll would have booked a further six more and probably sent off four.
Webb could easily have added more names to his book and decided that Alan Shearer's second-half arm into David Weir's face did not deserve stronger action than the award of a free-kick, although the Everton fans were on their feet baying for blood. But Weir was man-enough afterwards to laugh it off and say 'it's all part of the game, not an issue'.
Shearer had their best chance when he rounded keeper Nigel Martyn only to see James Beattie clear off the line. But the main talking point was the penalty that got away. But five minutes from the break Newcastle should have had a penalty when Shola Ameobi cracked in a 10-yard shot that Phil Neville clearly deflected around the post with his arm. Referee Howard Webb ignored the appeals for hand ball.
Celestine Babayaro was booked for fouling Tim Cahill, the prelude to a battle that continued until Souness took off the ex-Chelsea player before the defender was SENT off. Later Cahill tried to elbow Babayaro, who promptly smacked the Everton striker on the nose-end. The look on Cahill's face was straight out of Walt Disney. 'Mam ... me nose ... he's hit me nose!'
Everton went ahead 54 seconds after the re-start after Newcastle man-of-the-match Shay Given palmed a McFadden effort for a corner. Arteta's cross swung into the six-yard box and Yobo rose above Ramage to plant a header past Given.
Luque came on as substitute, and it was no surprise to see him rolling around on the grass - twice - before he had a decent touch of the ball. The sooner he learns that being a Drama Queen doesn't impress the English crowd as much as it does back in Spain.
To be honest, Beattie should have settled the issue when Davies found him unmarked in the box, but the striker blasted his effort high over the bar from 15 yards. There was still time for Given to somehow keep out two efforts from Cahill in the final minutes when again Everton took full control.