Football: A goal with his first touch from Everton's second-half substitute Victor Anichebe was the difference between two evenly-matched sides at St James' Park.
This result might leave Alan Pardew regretting his assertion at the end of last season that Newcastle were operating in a different league to the Merseyside team.
Back then it was his side which was making a surprise charge for the top four. However 10 defeats in their last 13 games leaves them looking nervously over their shoulders at the bottom three.
By contrast four wins in six for Everton leaves them just three points off the coveted Champions League places.
Pardew's assesment of his side's predicament was realistic. "There's no escaping the fact that we're right in it now," he said. "We've had an awful run, but I thought tonight we couldn't ask for more from the players on the pitch. We've played three of the best teams in the league without our best players. We need to work hard in this window to bring another body or two in and get our best players out of the treatment room."
One area they'll need to strengthen is the front-line following the imminent departure of Demba Ba. The build-up for the home side was dominated by the will-he-won't-he saga after Chelsea triggered the release clause in the striker's contract. Pardew ended the speculation before the game by confirming the striker's exit and wishing him all the best in London.
Less than two minutes into the game the Newcastle fans gave a slightly different verdict on the move when Ba's compatriot Papiss Cisse opened the scoring with a lobbed header.
The Everton defence, under pressure from Shola Ameobi, failed to deal with a long, high clearance from Tim Krul allowing Cisse to get his head on the ball and get the better of Tim Howard. "Are you watching, Demba Ba?" chanted the Toon faithful.
The goal settled a team which could have been shorn of confidence following emotionally and physically draining defeats at Old Trafford and the Emirates and for large parts of an entertaining first half Newcastle were the better side. On the half-hour mark James Perch crashed a header against the near post from Vurnon Anita's cross. While he couldn't have done any better, his failure to score would prove costly.
The home side had a shout for a penalty turned down 10 minutes later, although Phil Neville appeared to win the ball cleanly. Minutes later Marouane Fellaini, back in the side after suspension, won a very soft free-kick after challenging Fabricio Coloccini about 35 yards from goal. The sense of injustice for Newcastle was only heightened when Leighton Baines lashed the ball past the wall and beyond Krul's despairing dive.
The second half began evenly again, that is until the introduction of Everton's Anichebe. He made an instant impact with his first touch of the ball, beating Davide Santon to a left-wing cross from Nikica Jelavic. Body language speaks volumes and the Newcastle's players' heads hung low as they walked back to the centre circle.
While Cisse had the chance to grab a share of the points late on – his header was blocked by John Heitinga before Howard saved his shot from the rebound on the line – the homeside faded after the second goal and Everton always looked more likely to grab another.
"If you're going to come to St James' Park and win you're going to have to play very well," said Everton boss David Moyes. "I think we played very well in the first half and I was disappointed we didn't score more. Thank goodness Bainesy came up with a goal. If we can finish the season strongly we'll compete with the teams at the top end. Whether we're good enough only time will tell."
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