Super Eagles star Alex Iwobi was the hero for Frank Lampard’s Everton as they picked up a hard-fought 1-0 win over Newcastle United at Goodison Park.
Both teams were on opposing ends of the Premier League form book coming into the game. While Newcastle United had steadily climbed out of relegation troubles, Everton plunged headlong into the relegation battle with a number of defeats on the bounce.
Newcastle fell to a late Kai Havertz goal in their last match against Chelsea for their first loss in eight games, but they were confident of turning things round against an Everton side bereft of confidence.
Both sides tried to pry each other open, with Everton getting the first sight of goal through defender Ben Godfrey, whose header was straight at Martin Dubravka.
Everton had stand-in goalkeeper Asmir Begovic to thank as he kept out a number of Newcastle attempts on goal.
The game was stopped for almost ten minutes at the start of the second half after a fan tied himself to the goalpost in protest and had to be untied and carried off the pitch.
Everton were reduced to ten men after a VAR review in the 83rd minute. Everton captain Seamus Coleman had lost the ball in Newcastle’s penalty area and Allan Saint-Maximin carried the ball upfield on the counter until he was brought down by Allan, who was shown a yellow card. The VAR deemed that a tackle from the Brazilian midfielder was worthy of a red card and referee Craig Pawson proceeded to send him off.
After going down to ten men, Everton looked down and out of the game until Nigerian attacker Alex Iwobi stepped up with a moment of brilliance. The 25-year-old played a brilliant one-two with striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin before slotting a low left-footed effort into the bottom corner of the net in the 99th minute.
Iwobi was excluded from the Nigerian squad for their FIFA World Cup playoffs against Ghana owing to the suspension incurred by the red card he picked up in the Super Eagles 1-0 loss to Tunisia in the competition.
Everton are now three points clear of the relegation zone after their late win over Newcastle, who now find themselves in a precarious position after successive defeats. The Toffees have a series of tough fixtures to look forward to, but this win could spur them to survive the drop.