A GAME too far for a Newcastle United team that is beginning to look like it is running on empty? Probably. Just as had been the case at Bournemouth prior to the international break, this was another away game when Eddie Howe’s side were second best and ultimately finished well beaten. By the time the final whistle blew, they had suffered their heaviest defeat of the season.

To cap a bitterly disappointing night on Merseyside, it was two uncharacteristic errors from Kieran Trippier that proved Newcastle’s undoing. The England international has barely put a foot wrong since moving to Tyneside, perhaps he simply felt like getting all of his mistakes out of the way in one night.

Trippier was robbed while trying to turn inside for Everton’s first goal, with Dwight McNeil taking the ball off him before firing home, and drilled the ball off Jack Harrison for the home side’s second, enabling the midfielder to surge forward and cross for Abdoulaye Doucoure to slot home. Beto added a third Everton goal deep into stoppage time just to rubber-stamp the home side’s superiority.

It was one of those nights for Trippier, although in truth, Newcastle would have fallen behind much earlier had Dominic Calvert-Lewin had his shooting boots on, with the Everton striker wasting a couple of excellent opportunities and seeing a deflected header cleared off the line.

Alexander Isak and Anthony Gordon spurned reasonable opportunities at the other end, but Newcastle were far from their free-flowing best as they stuttered repeatedly in the Everton half.

Gordon cut an especially frustrated figure at the final whistle. All eyes were on the winger as he made his first start at Goodison Park since his acrimonious departure from Everton in January, but a poor second-half miss summed up his evening. The Magpies winger was a late substitute when Newcastle strolled to victory on the blue half of Merseyside in April; this was his opportunity to show the fans who adored him just what they lost when he upped sticks for the North-East, but he was left disappointed.

Gordon started in his usual spot on the left, but had switched sides to the right by the midway point of the first half as Howe attempted to unpick a well-drilled Everton back four.

With neither Joelinton nor Lewis Miley really able to threaten the 18-yard box, Newcastle struggled to bring Isak into the game.

Trippier curled a 20-yard free-kick into the arms of Jordan Pickford and Miguel Almiron stabbed another weak shot straight at the former Sunderland goalkeeper, but the Magpies’ only real opportunity before the interval came to nothing nine minutes before the break.

Trippier delivered an inviting cross from the right, but while Isak found himself in space for once on the edge of the six-yard box, he failed to make the desired connection with his glanced header and the ball spun wide of the left-hand post.

Despite their position in the relegation zone, it was Everton that were the more threatening side for long periods, with Harrison and Calvert-Lewin’s pressing unsettling Newcastle’s defenders and resulting in possession being squandered cheaply on a number of occasions.

Dubravka, making his first league start of the season, was called into action for the first time in the 19th minute, saving a header from Calvert-Lewin, and the Slovakian denied the same player less than 60 seconds later when he got down to his right to save a low shot.

McNeil wasted a good opportunity shortly after the half-hour mark when he dragged a shot wide from inside the 18-yard box, but that was nothing compared to the miss Calvert-Lewin produced six minutes before the interval.

The England international looked certain to score when he controlled Jarrad Branthwaite’s flick-on on his chest on the edge of the six-yard box, but with no Newcastle defender anywhere near him, he slashed at his shot, sending a wild effort sailing over the crossbar.  

It was a bad miss, but Calvert-Lewin remains integral to the way Everton want to play under Sean Dyche. It is easy to see why the Toffees struggle when he is absent through injury, and he went close to scoring again five minutes after the break.

His header from McNeil’s corner looked to be heading in after it took a hefty deflection off Jamaal Lascelles, but after Dubravka got a hand to the ball, Almiron hacked clear from his own goalline.

It was turning into a night of missed opportunities, and Gordon was the next player to fail to make the most of a decent opening on the hour mark.

In fairness to the Liverpudlian, he created the chance himself, closing down James Tarkowski as he received a pass from Pickford before nicking the ball off the centre-half on the edge of the area. However, he wasted it by firing a poor shot straight at Pickford, who was not seriously extended as he saved. A couple of minutes later, and Gordon was missing again as he blazed over from distance following an incisive through ball from Isak.

At that stage, it felt as though neither side was going to break the deadlock, but that assessment was confounded with 11 minutes left. Trippier hasn’t made too many mistakes since joining Newcastle – but this was a bad one.

The full-back got himself into trouble as he tried to turn inside deep in his own half, with McNeil taking the ball off him. The winger advanced towards the edge of the area, and cracked an excellent finish past Dubravka from 20 yards.

Seven minutes later, and Trippier erred again. This time he aimed a clearance at Harrison, enabling the midfielder to break down the left and cross for Doucoure to score.

Beto added some gloss to the scoreline from an Everton perspective, breaking down the right before hammering home deep into stoppage time.