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Newcastle stage remarkable comeback to Everton

Ayoze Perez
Ayoze Perez scored twice and set up Salomon Rondon in a stunning performance

Newcastle stormed back from two goals down at half-time to secure a vital victory over Everton in a captivating match at St James’ Park.

Ayoze Perez capped a stellar performance with an 84th-minute winner, poking the ball past Jordan Pickford as the visitors failed to clear.

The Newcastle striker had levelled three minutes earlier after Pickford spilled Miguel Almiron’s stinging drive into his path, while Perez also set up Salomon Rondon’s fine volley to get the hosts back into the game.

Until then, Rafael Benitez’s side had felt aggrieved at referee Lee Mason’s decision not to send Pickford off for a foul on Rondon, with the England goalkeeper saving a poor subsequent penalty from Matt Ritchie.

The Magpies’ mood darkened when, moments after that save, Richarlison tapped in his side’s second after Martin Dubravka parried Andres Gomes’ low cross straight to the Everton winger.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin got the opener on 18 minutes with a fine glancing header from Lucas Digne’s superb cross.

But the Toffees faded badly in the face of Newcastle’s second-half onslaught and are now only three points in front of Benitez’s side.Reaction to Saturday’s Premier League matches

Perez inspires stirring comeback

While unlucky and understandably frustrated to be 2-0 down at the interval, Newcastle were sloppy in the first half, not least when Ritchie stuttered in his run-up and hit a tame penalty down the middle that Pickford saved with his legs.

Benitez replaced captain Jamaal Lascelles with Paul Dummett at half-time and changed the shape of his side – moving Dummett to left back and pushing Ritchie up from there to right midfield, which allowed Newcastle to be more direct against a shaky Everton defence.

That defensive frailty was exposed on 65 minutes when Isaac Hayden played a hopeful pass up to Perez, who had only Rondon in support against four Everton defenders.

But Perez won the header back to Rondon, spun and received the return pass before deftly chipping back to the Venezuela striker to volley beyond Pickford from 12 yards.

Dummett then looped a header over when Rondon was better placed behind him but Newcastle kept coming and drew level on 81 minutes as Almiron struck from 30 yards and Perez slotted in the rebound after Pickford failed to push it wide.

Frustration had given way to fervent urgency and Everton wilted, their defence caught static as Hayden lofted the ball back in after a corner. Rondon brought it down and Perez, having retreated from an offside position, stabbed in the winner.

Now it was Everton’s turn to feel aggrieved – Rondon looked to be slightly offside when the ball was played back in – but the visitors will still be alarmed at the manner of their collapse.

BBCSPORT

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