Sunday 24 March 2019

Winner Walcott hails Toffees' Coleman

Premier League Everton 1 Newcastle 0

WINNER: Theo Walcott. Pic: Reuters
WINNER: Theo Walcott. Pic: Reuters

Theo Walcott's second-half winner against Newcastle moved Everton up to eighth - their highest position in the Premier League table since August.

In the first match since Everton fans were asked by their club to rate manager Sam Allardyce out of 10, Walcott's strike six minutes after the interval at Goodison Park elevated them to a place they had not been in since the second game of the season.

The former Arsenal man, however, reserved special mention for Ireland captain Seamus Coleman in his post-match interview after the Donegalman's defensive header at the death won the points for the Toffees. "That diving header from Seamus was unbelievable. It sums him up," said Walcott. When asked by Sky pundit and former Everton boss Roberto Martinez afterwards what it was like to play with Coleman, Walcott replied: "He's played at the highest level for so long. He's a fantastic professional and a great character in the dressing room.

"When you think of Everton he's the first man you think about."

The 1-0 victory also ended Newcastle's four-match winning streak and prevented Rafael Benitez's side from leapfrogging the Toffees in the standings.

There were 31 minutes on the clock before either side registered a shot on target and when it did Ayoze Perez's tame effort was underwhelming.

The goal came from Yannick Bolasie's deep cross and though Walcott was unable to bring the ball under control originally, it came back off DeAndre Yedlin and the ex-Arsenal winger engineered space to smash into the roof of the net.

Jordan Pickford made a routine save from a Perez header but he was scrambling across his goal when Matt Ritchie's free-kick from the edge of the box went just over after Keane had fouled Gayle.

Keane was booked for that, and was fortunate to escape another caution for an equally poor challenge on the same player, but Everton retained 11 men and held on, with Coleman brilliantly heading away Jacob Murphy's cross at the end.

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