Newcastle Utd 1 Everton 1
NEWCASTLE UTD 1 EVERTON 1
NEWCASTLE: Harper, Carr, Bramble, Moore, Ramage, Milner,Parker, Emre, N'Zogbia, Martins (Rossi 81),Ameobi (Sibierski 24).
Subs Not Used: Krul, Butt, Taylor.
EVERTON: Howard, Hibbert, Yobo, Lescott,Naysmith (Nuno Valente 45), Osman, Neville, Carsley,Arteta (Beattie 90), Cahill, Johnson.
Subs Not Used: Wright, Weir, Davies.
Quite exactly in what frame of mind the referee was in this particular match, whether his wife had ran off with the milkman or someone had knicked his wallet before the match, God only knows. But he was intent on showing cards left right and centre, and some of his decisions simply defied belief.
I cannot remember a match when BOTH sets of supporters felt so badly done by. Yet a draw was probably the right result, despite the huge interfierence from the man in black.
Tim Cahill preserved Everton's unbeaten run when he powered home a 40th-minute header to cancel out Shola Ameobi's 14th-minute opener.
But the player who had the most influence was £10million striker Obafemi Martins was left to rue a series of missed opportunities to claim his first goal at St James' Park. He could blame poor service at Villa and Anfield, not this time. Four times he had the goal at his mercy, perhaps the best of them on 71 minutes when he held off Joleon Lescott, but shot straight at Tim Howard.
Glenn Roeder has still not address the major problem that has dogged the club since the Fairs Cup win in 1969 - the continuing fragility in defence. The club is famous for it, and that has been the main reason we haven't lifted a cup since Bob Moncur - himself a fabulous defender - picked up the trophy in Budapest.
Ameobi's 14th-minute strike was aided by a linesman who obviously didn't know what 'offside' was, but none of the 50,000 Toon Army held an inquest. But, having worked hard to keep Andrew Johnson at bay, the home defence wilted on 40 minutes.
Craig Moore sliced a clearance out for a corner under pressure from the in-form Everton striker and, although his side cleared the initial cross, Mikel Arteta was allowed to feed the ball back in and the Australian rose unopposed at the far post to head home.
Both sides were reduced to 10 men within two eventful minutes when first Bramble was sent off for a foul on Osman, his second bookable offence, and then Hibbert followed him down the tunnel when, after being cautioned for a foul on Parker, he repeated the dose on substitute Antoine Sibierski.