Everton suffered a damaging 3-1 defeat away at Newcastle in Frank Lampard’s first league game in charge.
An own goal apiece in the space of two minutes meant the two sides went in at half-time with the score at 1-1 before second half strikes from Ryan Fraser and Kieran Trippier won the day for the Magpies.
It was a frustrating evening on Tyneside for the Toffees as they were roared off the pitch by a tumultuous St. James’ Park, failed to find any sort of rhythm at any point in the game and also lost both Demarai Gray and Yerry Mina to injury.
They did take the lead on 36 minutes when Mason Holgate got on the end of a long free-kick and saw his shot cleared off the line before it bounced back in off Jamaal Lascelles.
In bizarre fashion, the roles were reversed when the hosts equalised just a minute late as Holgate conceded an own goal via a Lascelles header.
On 56 minutes, Eddie Howe’s side took the lead when the dangerous Allan Saint-Maximin made a surging run into the area and lifted a cross over for Fraser to finish and continue his impressive scoring record against the Blues.
Everton were relatively dominated in the second half as Newcastle’s intense press prevented them from stringing together the passes that had so successfully carved open Brentford in their previous match.
Losing Gray to injury after 25 minutes rendered their attack rather blunt, especially as his replacement, debutant Dele Alli, appeared off the pace and made little impact on the match.
The Toffees’ fate was sealed with 10 minutes left as Trippier bagged his first goal for his new club with a sumptuous free-kick.
The loss was certainly a reality check after the high of Lampard’s first game in charge and the 43-year-old will now know just how difficult a task it will be leading the side to safety, as they sit just three points above the relegation places with a game on hand.
It only makes the visit of Leeds United to Goodison Park on Saturday all the more important.