Toffees dent Toon title dream
By Paul Higham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The Toffees' young idol Wayne Rooney opened the scoring early on only for Laurent Robert to fire in a screaming leveller before a controversial spot-kick on the hour eventually settled the game.
The Rooney show sprung back into life after just 18 minutes when he reacted quickly to David Weir's flick to nod the ball in off the far post to the obvious delight of his beloved followers.
The visitors got back into the game towards the end of the half and Robert drew the sides level with an absolute thunderbolt from the left edge of the box that flew past Richard Wright into the far corner.
Jonathan Woodgate crashed a header onto the bar just before the interval but the sides went in level after a pulsating first 45 minutes.
Controversy struck just after the hour mark when Thomas Gravesen, who was already booked, came in with a dreadful studs-up challenge on Olivier Bernard that somehow went unpunished by referee Neal Barry.
With Bernard lying on the ground, Everton drove forward where Barry then pointed to the spot when Kevin Campbell went sprawling under a challenge from Woodgate, and Unsworth mercilessly drilled the spot-kick past Given.
Newcastle flung everything forward in the dying moments and Titus Bramble powered a header towards goal in stoppage time only for Wright to somehow palm the ball over the bar for a corner.
Sir Bobby Robson will be fuming with referee Barry as his side suffered a blow to their title ambitions as a result of the loss while Everton go above Liverpool and are still on course for a place in Europe next season.
Everton v Newcastle United