Everton brush aside hapless Newcastle for first home league win since November
Everton's first home league win since November eased some of the scrutiny on manager Roberto Martinez in his 100th Premier League game in charge but only increased the pressure on Newcastle counterpart Steve McClaren.
A first-half goal from Aaron Lennon, the first time since August 2009 he has scored in back-to-back games, and two late Ross Barkley penalties secured a 3-0 victory against a disparate visiting side who lacked cohesion or any semblance of a game plan and who defended haphazardly at best.
Martinez has now won 40 times and drawn 31 in his opening century of games at Everton but after a Capital One Cup semi-final exit last week some fans were calling for his head.
A victory and a much-needed home clean sheet, only the second of the season, will have eased that clamour.
McClaren's record is even worse, having taken just five points from eight matches since their last victory on the road at Tottenham in mid-December, and after spending B#24million on Jonjo Shelvey and Andros Townsend in the January window he needs to see a return on his investment pretty quickly with his side two points from safety.
The match followed a familiar pattern for Everton - who were without the injured defender John Stones - at Goodison Park this season with the scoreline not really reflecting their domination of possession.
Lennon took his goal well but could easily have had another two either side of the break.
Tom Cleverley forced Rob Elliot into one early low save, Romelu Lukaku flicked a free-kick just past the post and Barkley, on his 100th Premier League appearance, lobbed wide of an open goal after Elliot had rushed out to head clear under pressure from Lukaku.
The breakthrough came in the 23rd minute when Lennon was picked out by Cleverley and the winger's shot on the turn beat Elliot.
It looked like being the only thing which would do so all night as the Magpies goalkeeper produced a string of saves in the second half, which Everton played without leading goalscorer Lukaku who he was replaced by Arouna Kone after struggling with a back injury sustained in a challenge with Fabricio Coloccini.
Barkley had two shots, one a free-kick deflected by Shelvey, tipped onto the crossbar by Elliot, who also saved from Lennon from which Kone fired the rebound wide.
The post denied Cleverley from a set-piece as Everton continued to create but not take chances.
It is one of the reasons Everton made a deadline-day move for Oumar Niasse, restricted to a watching brief in the stand still wearing the club shirt in which he was presented to the crowd in pre-match, who scored 13 goals in 23 appearances for Lokomotiv Moscow.
Unfortunately for Newcastle Ivory Coast striker Seydou Doumbia, who received his visa earlier in the day after his loan move from Roma, was forced to do the same from the bench as bad luck with injuries saw the visitors make all three substitutions with just 55 minutes gone.
Newcastle did give a debut to Townsend, named in the starting line-up, but after so long in the wilderness at Tottenham he was an anonymous figure.
Moussa Sissoko finally forced Joel Robles, making his first league start for a year after injury to Tim Howard, into a save in the last 15 minutes but just seven goals in their last 18 league matches away from provides some explanation why they remain rooted in the bottom three.
Barkley made the result safe with an 88th-minute penalty after substitute Rolando Aarons brought down Lennon, before a cheeky chip from the spot capped an impressive performance after Newcastle substitute Jamaal Lascelles was sent off for bringing him down.