Aaron Lennon’s first-half goal and a pair of late Ross Barkley pen
alties secured Everton a 3-0 victory over Newcastle United to end a run of five Premier League games without a win.
Lennon scored after 23 minutes of a game that Everton did not have to be at their best to win, such is the dearth of confidence in the Newcastle team this season.
The former Tottenham winger was then brought down by Rolando Aarons to allow Barkley to convert from the spot for the first time with two minutes left.
Barkley then kept his cool again from 12 yards in stoppage-time after being upended by Jamaal Lascelles, who subsequently received his marching orders for a second yellow card.
The performance of Lennon overshadowed the debut of Newcastle’s £12million signing Andros Townsend and manager Steve McClaren’s spending spree in the January transfer window showed few signs of improving their Premier League fortunes, with his side remaining third bottom.
For Everton, who had won just three of their previous 14 home league games, getting a result at Goodison Park was vital to their hopes of mounting a challenge for place in the top eight this season.
The victory was watched by new Everton signing Oumar Niasse, who joined the club from Lokomotiv Moscow for £13.5million in January, and he may have arrived at the start of a Premier League fightback from Roberto Martinez’s men.
Everton started the game brightly and Tom Cleverley struck a low drive from 20 yards that drew a good save from Rob Elliot, diving down to his left.
Townsend showed a glimpse of his pace as he took on Seamus Coleman on the Newcastle left, but the visitors struggled to retain possession long enough to create any meaningful attacking opportunities.
Everton always looked the more likely side to take the lead, and a sweeping move down the left flank saw Cleverley play in Lennon, who took a touch to control the ball before hooking it into the net at the near post with a low, right-footed shot on the turn.
Lennon had a chance to make it two when Cleverley played him in, but his shot was blocked by Chancel Mbemba and Everton went in 1-0 up at the break without having had to break sweat against a Newcastle team that looked woefully short of ideas.
McClaren sent Newcastle out for the second half with renewed intent, but Everton continued to create the better chances, and Barkley put Lennon clean through on goal, only for the winger to shoot straight at Elliot.
Barkley went closer when he took a shot himself moments later, cracking a powerful effort from the edge of the box that Elliot brilliantly pushed onto the crossbar with one hand.
Cleverley then struck the crossbar with a looping free-kick, before seeing a second free-kick superbly saved by Newcastle’s outstanding player by far, Elliot.
Newcastle’s only clear chance of the evening fell to substitute Aleksandar Mitrovic, but the striker volleyed Moussa Sissoko’s cross wide.
Barkley slotted home his first spot-kick when Aarons felled Lennon in the box and duly added a second when Lascelles clattered into him, allowing him to cheekily chip Elliot and make it 3-0.
Key Opta stats:
-Ross Barkley has scored in four of his six Premier League games against Newcastle United (five goals).
-Barkley (22y 60d) made his 100th Premier League appearance in this match, becoming the second youngest player to make 100 PL apps for Everton after Michael Ball.
-Aaron Lennon has scored in back-to-back games for the first time since August 2009 (all competitions).
-Newcastle have conceded a league-high eight goals from outside the box in the Premier League this season.
-Newcastle have gone nine Premier League games without a clean sheet, only local rivals Sunderland are on a longer wait for a shutout in the top-flight (10 games).
-The Toffees became the 20th and final Premier League team to score from the penalty spot this season.
-Everton won their first league game at Goodison Park since November when they beat Aston Villa 4-0. It was also their first clean sheet at home since then.
-Newcastle United have failed to score in four of their last five Premier League meetings with Everton.
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