Newcastle frustrated as late Dominic Calvert-Lewin penalty rescues Everton | Premier League

Will April prove the cruellest month for Everton? No-one can be quite sure but even though it has not started brilliantly for Sean Dyche’s team they at least managed to defy the doom mongers by fighting back to salvage an unlikely point on a chilly Tyneside.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s first goal since October, an 88th-minute penalty, admittedly failed to prevent Everton from extending their winless Premier League game to 13 games yet it could come to be seen as a psychological watershed.

Granted the Merseysiders remain in real relegation trouble but the they creditably failed to fold after a goal from the in-form Alexander Isak provided Newcastle with an early lead.

While Dyche and co are braced for another imminent points deduction following further financial irregularities, Calvert-Lewin’s late contribution from the bench dented Newcastle’s renascent hopes of qualifying for another European adventure.

Like Dyche, Newcastle manager Eddie Howe could still rescue his team’s season but that, too, looks touch and go.

If Newcastle need Nick Pope restored to fitness and back in goal, Jordan Pickford’s excellence with his feet could yet save Everton from the Championship and the accuracy and range of the England goalkeeper’s long kicks proved one of the evening’s recurring themes.

Yet even Pickford was powerless to prevent Isak scoring his 19th goal for Newcastle this season. Fifteen minutes had passed when Harvey Barnes’s lofted pass over the top bisected James Tarkowski and Jarrad Branthwaite, leaving the Sweden striker sensing opportunity.

Isak had been left with quite a lot to do but he rose to the challenge, proceeding to sidestep a couple of markers before squeezing a perfectly calibrated shot between Pickford and a post.

Small wonder Howe is desperate to keep Isak on Tyneside next season and will urge his board not to sell the centre forward this summer.

For a while his latest goal seemed to inflict considerable psychological damage on Dyche’s initially bright side. Indeed, as darkness fell and Everton’s Muslim players were able to end their Ramadan fasts during a special drinks break, Newcastle fans joked that Amadou Onana, Abdoulaye Doucouré and Idrissa Gueye might have been better off praying.

The laughing stopped when Onana’s slick pass subsequently played the well placed Doucouré in. Although the ensuing shot permitted Martin Dubravka to make a save when the goalkeeper should arguably have been given no chance, Everton had recovered sufficient composure to unnerve the Gallowgate End.

No matter that the first half concluded with Pickford saving Jacob Murphy’s volley smartly with his feet before tipping Isak’s rising shot over the bar for a corner, a Newcastle side featuring impressive performances from Elliot Anderson and Barnes down the left were not quite home and dry.

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Although Dan Burn briefly believed he had doubled their advantage VAR had other ideas and, following a review the defender’s effort was ruled out after it became apparent that the goal’s creator, Isak, had been narrowly offside in the preamble.

Desperate to make the most of that reprieve, Everton very nearly equalised when substitute James Garner struck a post but soon had Vitaliy Mykolenko to thank for a dramatic goal-line clearance to deny Isak.

Still, Howe could not quite relax and his fears were realised when the visitors won a penalty. Poor Paul Dummett had just trotted on to replace the injured Lewis Hall at left back when he wrestled Ashley Young to the ground as they competed for a cross. Following a VAR check the referee, Tony Harrington, awarded the spot kick, gleefully converted, right footed, by substitute Calvert-Lewin.

The striker’s first goal in 23 games emphasised that Dyche had deployed his substitutes expertly.

With a trio of potential relegation six pointers against Burnley, Nottingham Forest and Brentford looming on a horizon already dominated by that possible further points deduction, Dyche and Everton can only hope April does not prove the cruellest month after all.

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