Everton missed the chance to return to the top of the Premier League as Callum Wilson scored twice to give Newcastle a first win in three matches.
Former Bournemouth forward Wilson opened the scoring – converting a penalty he had won after being fouled by Andre Gomes – and then tapped in a second from Ryan Fraser’s looping cross.
The result means Carlo Ancelotti’s side remain second, three points behind Liverpool, while the Magpies move up to 10th.
After a largely uneventful first half, the game sparked into life in the second period.
And Newcastle, who had taken a point from their two previous matches, had Wilson to thank for their victory.
Steve Bruce’s side could have added to their tally but Sean Longstaff’s powerful close-range effort was brilliantly saved by Robin Olsen, starting in goal for Everton in place of England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s late goal was not enough to prevent Ancelotti from losing consecutive league games for the first time since September 2014, when he was in charge of Real Madrid.
Everton’s absence of attacking guile
Everton began the campaign with four consecutive victories to move to the top of the Premier League, but this was another result that will have grounded expectations at Goodison Park.
Now without a win in three games, Everton’s big news prior to kick-off was that Pickford, who has come under scrutiny for several high-profile mistakes, had been dropped after 120 consecutive Premier League appearances.
In his place, on-loan Roma goalkeeper Olsen made a confident debut, saving superbly from Allan Saint-Maximin and turning away Longstaff’s powerful shot.
The Sweden international could not be faulted for either of Newcastle’s goals but Everton’s biggest problem was at the other end of the pitch.
Without suspended forward Richarlison and injured playmaker James Rodriguez, Ancelotti’s side struggled to create meaningful chances, mustering just four shots on target.
A five-man midfield containing players who all prefer to operate from central roles did not help, with Calvert-Lewin not seeing enough of the ball to make an impact until late on.
Everton’s limitations in attack were highlighted further by 19-year-old Ellis Simms’ inclusion as a substitute along with Cenk Tosun, who came on for the first time since 21 December 2019.
Newcastle’s blueprint for success
As Premier League contests go, this will not live long in the memory for neutrals – but Bruce will have been pleased by the way his side set out to defend with numbers and break with pace.
In the two matches since their 4-1 home defeat by Manchester United on 17 October, Bruce has reverted to a three-man central defence and reaped rewards on both occasions.
His team took a point at high-flying Wolves and again looked solid against an Everton side looking to move back to the summit of the table.
Fabian Schar, Jamaal Lascelles and Federico Fernandez – who made more clearances than any other player (10) – were disciplined and dominant at the back.
At the other end of the pitch, Miguel Almiron, Allan Saint-Maximin and Wilson provided the pace and power to threaten on the counter.
Newcastle served notice of their intentions in the first half with Wilson firing over in the sixth minute and then combining with Paraguay international Almiron to create an excellent chance for Saint-Maximin following an Everton corner.
That pattern continued and was more effective in the second period, particularly once Wilson had scored from the spot.
And as Everton pressed for an equaliser, substitute Fraser break down the left allowed Wilson to put the game beyond them.
‘We deserved it’ – what they said
Newcastle boss Steve Bruce, speaking to Sky Sports: “We knew it would be a battle against one of the great managers. He has had a few problems with injuries but I couldn’t be more pleased. We deserved it.
“I don’t know where we got six minutes from at the end. They threw everything at at us and the goal makes it edgy. We’re trying to do things a different way and be more expansive but it is a work in progress. We have to do what is best for the team.
“If I’m going to be honest, it seems like very little contact means a penalty these days. If it was against me, I would be disappointed. But we can’t keep complaining about it. It is what it is. It was our turn and we will take it.
“When you play a good team, tactically you have to be right. It wasn’t much of a spectacle in the first half but once we got the goal, all in all it is a good day’s work for us.”
Everton boss Carlo Ancelotti, speaking to BBC Match of the Day: “Some quality was missing, some speed and attention. The game was imbalanced. We wanted to wait for the opportunity. But they got the penalty from a lack of concentration. That made it a lot more difficult.
“They are important players missing. When you don’t have these players you have to play differently, maybe with less quality but with more focus. The goals we conceded, we lacked focus. We have to try to recover players for the next games.
“We can defend better and avoid the penalty.
“I wanted to give an opportunity to Robin [Olsen] to be part of this group and team. After this, Jordan [Pickford] will be back. Robin will play again, but not against [Manchester] United.”
Newcastle’s penalty gains – match stats
Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti has lost consecutive league matches for the first time since September 2014 with Real Madrid in La Liga – 2-4 against Real Sociedad and 1-2 against Atletico Madrid.
Newcastle have won two of their past three Premier League matches at St James’ Park, as many as they had won in their previous 11 top-flight games at home (D4 L5).
Newcastle have won three penalties in their past five Premier League games, as many as in their previous 76.
There has been a penalty awarded to either side in each of the past four Premier League games held at St James’ Park, the longest run at this stadium in the top flight since a five-game stretch ending in October 2008.
Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin has scored more Premier League goals against Newcastle (five) than he has versus any other opponent.
Callum Wilson has scored six goals in his first seven Premier League appearances for Newcastle – only Les Ferdinand has reached six goals in fewer appearances in the Premier League for the Magpies (six).
Newcastle travel to Southampton for their next Premier League match on Friday, 6 November (20:00 GMT).
Everton welcome Manchester United to Goodison Park in their next top-flight game on Saturday, 7 November (12:30 GMT).