Premier League - Barkley solo effort inspires Everton victory

Premier League, St James’ Park – Newcastle 0 Everton 3 (Barkley 22, Lukaku 52, Osman 87)

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Premier League - Barkley solo effort inspires Everton victory
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Everton's English midfielder Ross Barkley (2-R) celebrates scoring the opening goal (AFP)

A magnificent solo effort from Ross Barkley inspired Everton to a 3-0 victory over Newcastle in a pulsating clash as the Toffees’ boosted their Champions League hopes.

Newcastle spurned four chances in a frantic opening 180 seconds as the visitors made a succession of goal-saving blocks to keep the score level.

Eventually, Everton settled and took the lead in stunning fashion when Barkley ghosted forward from inside his own half, shrugged off numerous challenges and rifled into the roof of the net.

Groans emanated from around St James’ Park as the hosts struggled to contain Everton’s threat, and the home fans’ frustration was heightened when Romelu Lukaku tucked home Gerard Deulofeu’s low cross early in the second-half.

The hosts rallied and would have pulled a goal back but for a glaring miss from Vurnon Anita after Hatem Ben Arfa had bewitched the Everton defence with a mazy run down the left flank.

And Roberto Martinez's side punished their opponent’s profligacy when Leon Osman capped a fine counter-attacking move to wrap up the points and lift Everton to within six points of fourth-placed Arsenal, who have played a game more.

KEY MOMENTS

3’ – CRAZY START AT ST JAMES’ PARK! De Jong sees an effort blocked before Cisse and Gouffran are denied by stoic Everton defending from the resulting corner. To cap it all off, Gouffran fluffs his kick moments later.

18’ – GREAT SAVE FROM KRUL! Lukaku pounces upon a sweet Osman pass and darts at the Newcastle goal. Krul stands tall and gets a toe on the Belgian's effort. Top save.

22’ – GOAL! Newcastle 0-1 Everton. Ross Barkley picks the ball up inside his own half and sets about tearing apart the hosts' defence. Past one, past two, still he goes on. He saunters into the penalty area, evades a couple of limp challenges and smashes into the top corner! Quality goal!

33’ – CHANCE FOR NEWCASTLE! Vurnon Anita plays a quick one-two with De Jong and finds Cisse... Everton block again!

52’ – GOAL! Newcastle 0-2 Everton. Deulofeu passes across the face of goal towards Lukaku... And into the roof of the net! As soon as the Spaniard ditches the step-overs, the reward is instant.

79’ – MISS OF THE SEASON? Ben Afra dribbles in a full circle, skipping past opponents with ease before passing across goal towards Vurnon Anita. But, somehow, the midfielder puts it wide from a few yards out. What a shocker.

87’ – GOAL! Newcastle 0-3 Everton. Naismith... Deulofeu... Lukaku... Osman... Into the top corner! Marvellous counter-attacking goal.

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KEY STATS

Everton record their biggest top flight win at Newcastle since a 3-0 victory on 11 February 1967. (Infostrada)

Cheick Tiote becomes the sixth Ivorian to play 100 Premier League matches. (Infostrada)

Everton win four consecutive Premier League matches for the first time since February to March 2008. (Infostrada)

Romelu Lukaku scores his 29th Premier League goal, equalling Christian Benteke as the leading Belgian PL goalscorer (Infostrada)

TALKING POINT

Ross Barkley for England? The 20-year-old has suffered a slight dip in form since an electric start to the season. But his individual antics against Newcastle served as a reminder that he can play an important role if selected in Roy Hodgson’s squad for the 2014 World Cup.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND PLAYER RATINGS

MAN OF THE MATCH

Gerard Deulofeu (Everton): Tore Paul Dummett (and the rest of the Newcastle ensemble) apart. The kid has a very bright future.

PLAYER RATINGS

Newcastle: Krul 6, Yanga-Mbiwa 5, Williamson 6, Coloccini 5, Dummett 5, Sissoko 5, Anita 5, Tiote 6, Gouffran 5, de Jong 5, Cisse 6. Subs: Ben Arfa 7, Marveaux 6, Shola Ameobi 6

Everton: Howard 6, Baines 6, Distin 6, Stones 7, Coleman 6, Barry 7, McCarthy 6, Deulofeu 8, Barkley 7, Osman 7, Lukaku 7. Subs: Naismith 6.

THE MATCH IN A TWEET

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