Callum Wilson scored twice as Newcastle United tightened their grip on a Champions League qualification place with a thumping 4-1 Premier League victory at second-bottom Everton on Thursday, deepening the relegation crisis at the Goodison Park club.
Joelinton and Jacob Murphy were also on the scoresheet as Newcastle had too much quality for an Everton side who were last relegated in 1951 but are now facing that very real prospect. Dwight McNeil scored a late consolation for the home side.
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Newcastle are in third place with 62 points from 32 games and well on course for a first Champions League place since 2002.
Everton are second-bottom, two points from the safety zone and facing a crunch visit to fellow strugglers Leicester City on Monday.
“First half was not perfect but second half was very good, we scored some very good goals,” Newcastle manager Eddie Howe told BBC. “We really put our foot to the floor and showed what we are capable of.
“The end table will tell us where we are and what we have next season but for now we are just focusing on the next game [home to Southampton on Sunday]. We have returned to form in a really good way.”
Everton had been whipped into a frenzied start by a raucous crowd on Merseyside, but the Premier League’s lowest scorers could not make that pressure pay and in the end were picked off by moments of decisive attacking play from the visitors.
Wilson scored from six yards after Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford could only parry Joelinton’s shot and the ball fell kindly for the striker.
It was perhaps harsh on Everton, who had started brightly and were denied an equaliser for Dominic Calvert-Lewin by a tight offside call on the stroke of halftime.
It was an even contest at the break but Newcastle took control in the second half and extended their lead when Joelinton headed in a second.
Everton lost their shape in midfield and gifted space around the box to Newcastle, as Wilson crashed home his second with a superb shot that this time left Pickford with no chance.
McNeil gave the now subdued Goodison faithful a glimmer of hope when his corner found its way into the net without a touch, but that was soon quashed again.
A brilliant run and cross from Alexander Isak put a goal on a plate for Murphy to net a fourth at the back post.
“We took the game on and I thought in the first half we had been as strong as we have been,” Everton manager Sean Dyche told BT Sport. “We went under too easily after the second goal. You can’t against good sides like Newcastle.
“We are not finding the big moments in the final third. It is still a work in progress. We have to park this one quickly and clear our minds going into the next one.”