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Everton edge out Magpies
Everton substitute Victor Anichebe plunged Newcastle deeper into crisis as a difficult day on Tyneside ended in depressing style in a 2-1 defeat for the Magpies.
The striker needed just two minutes to steer home Nikica Jelavic's cross to complete a comeback which saw the Toffees condemn Newcastle to a ninth defeat in 11 Barclays Premier League games.
It had all started so well for the home side when Papiss Cisse headed them in front with just 72 seconds played, but Leighton Baines' stunning free-kick cancelled out the advantage two minutes before the break to set the stage for Anichebe to win it on the hour.
With Demba Ba's move to Chelsea all but complete as the game kicked off, the onus fell on Cisse to reprise his stunning form during the second half of last season, and despite once again being asked to play a wide role, he obliged with less than two minutes gone.
The Everton defence inexplicably allowed goalkeeper Tim Krul's long clearance to bounce on the edge of the penalty area and having gambled on the ball reaching him, the Senegal international calmly headed it over the stranded Tim Howard. It might have been 2-0 had Cisse been able to stretch just a few inches further to meet Shola Ameobi's cross.
However, after the initial flurry abated, the visitors started to exercise a measure of control and would have been level within two minutes had it not been for the excellence of Krul. Baines' dipping free-kick seemed destined for the back of the net until the Dutchman threw out a hand as he flew across goal and managed to palm the ball around the post.
Marouane Fellaini, back in the team after completing a three-match ban, forced a fine 24th-minute block from Davide Santon, while Steven Pienaar looked odds on to equalise eight minutes later, only for Krul to come out on top. In the meantime, Alan Pardew's men had come agonisingly close to extending their lead when James Perch headed Vurnon Anita's free-kick against the post.
However, Fabricio Coloccini was harshly adjudged to have fouled Fellaini with the midfielder backing into him, and Baines took full advantage. The England left-back stepped up to blast the resulting free-kick past Krul from the best part of 30 yards, prompting celebrations among the travelling fans and a tirade of abuse aimed at referee Martin Atkinson from the locals.
Newcastle came agonisingly close to taking the lead when Shola Ameobi expertly controlled Sylvain Marveaux's 58th-minute ball over the top and stabbed it past the advancing Howard, but also just past the post.
And the home side were caught out two minutes later when Jelavic cut inside from the left and crossed for Anichebe to slot home at the near post. Gabriel Obertan tested Howard at his near post with a 65th-minute shot after being set away by Shola Ameobi. But Krul had to tip Fellaini's audacious 71st-minute flick over the bar as Everton saw out the game.